After releasing a music single to protest at Bromsgrove District Council’s planning authority’s planning application refusal, Beoley-based company Oakland International has been left frustrated by District Council’s head of planning and regeneration’s comments.
Oakland International Co-founder and Chief Executive, Dean Attwell stated: “We were quite clear in our statement that we were referring to an application for a new building being refused, not the appeal against the enforcement to which Ruth Bamford refers in her statement to the media this week. The warehouse has not been built and we are awaiting a public inquiry to decide on whether we are allowed to build following the application being refused.”
Oakland’s new building planning application would replace old derelict farm buildings located next to wasteland and a local scrapyard.
Mr Attwell added: “Ruth Bamford appears to be intent on trying to paint a picture of Oakland International as a law-flouting business by referring to a single public inquiry held last year which determined that we had to remove a link-way between two buildings of around 7,000 sq. ft. of space (not a large warehouse) and to cease the use of a building that had been successfully converted into a chilled and ambient food grade warehouse facility on a site employing an additional 30 people, and instead restore it as a sheep, cattle or chicken shed.”
Although not happy with the outcome, Oakland International accepted the inspector’s decision on the link building being removed and the conversion of the food warehouse back to a farm building. Their current campaign relates to a modern, environmentally sensitive and attractive new building which will house a living wall and constructed over the existing footprint of derelict farm buildings which in their current state are a blot on the landscape. Oakland’s planning application was refused by Bromsgrove District Council by a majority vote in the November planning committee meeting at Bromsgrove Council in front of over 60 members of Oakland’s team and their families, which is what the company’s planning campaign today is about.
Said Mr Attwell: “Ruth’s comments about Oakland being a great business, but in the wrong place are quite ridiculous and typical of the attitude we have seen for so long – they have no credible suggestions on where we should relocate and appear to be fully prepared to lose economic growth and 250 jobs in order to protect a derelict and crumbling building on a site that they argue to be green belt, and placing this above local jobs as well as the economic wealth for our district.
“Bromsgrove Council has no immediately available, credible or viable alternative sites for Oakland to relocate to in the district. So what it appears she is reaffirming here is that she wants Oakland gone. Liz Truss MP secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is an advocate for supporting rural businesses to diversify and grow and here we are, a rural business that has diversified and grown – but in Bromsgrove District, there appears to be a limit to how far a business is ‘allowed’ to grow before it is asked to move. A strange view that I do not believe is supported by government.”
Oakland has a dedicated website (www.plannersblockbusiness.co.uk) for other businesses’ to share their planning authority experiences. The ‘Application Refused’ single is available on iTunes and all proceeds from the download will be used to benefit the underprivileged in Redditch and Bromsgrove via the Oakland Foundation charity.
You can follow Oakland’s campaign on Twitter and Facebook