Farm neighbours fear new potato store will be the end of their sleep

Plans for a new potato store at an Oulton farm have left neighbours fearing for their sleep patterns

Plans for a new potato store at an Oulton farm have left neighbours fearing for their sleep patterns. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Neighbours to a Norfolk farm told councillors they fear for their ability to sleep, ahead of a decision to allow a new refrigerated potato storage box on the site.

E F Harrold Ltd, a family-run farm in Oulton, near Aylsham, has successfully applied to Broadland District Council for permission to build a new potato store on their site, with capacity for 2,200 tonnes of spuds.

The plans, which went before committee this week, include cooling fans to regulate the temperature of the potatoes, which will run 24 hours a day.

However, the proposal prompted noise fears from neighbours of the farm, with speakers at the committee meeting telling members the store would spell the end of the tranquillity of the village.

Simon Dunsort, of Oulton Street, said: 'The thought of a year-round low frequency buzz fills us with real dread.

'We already put up with a great deal of noise from the farm - my house vibrates whenever a large vehicle pases, so how can we be expected to go to bed knowing we will be kept awake?'

Mr Dunsort added he felt the Harrold family saw their neighbours as simply an obstacle to overcome.

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Alison Shaw, of Hodges Row, added: 'Were the plans to be approved it would be prioritising the commercial interests of one farming family over the sleep of 40-plus other families.

'With this, we will never again experience the wonderful peace of the area.'

Sofia Harrold, of E F Harrold Ltd, said the family had co-operated with the villages for generations, having been in operation since 1955.

She added: 'We absolutely do not see our neighbours as obstacles and with the application we have mitigated wherever we can.'

Jeremy Nunn, of Thurlow Nunn Standen Ltd, the company which designed the store, said the maximum volume the fans would reach at night would be 26 decibels - a level he said was 'equivalent to a rustling lead or a whisper'.

After hearing further arguments from Oulton Parish Council and district councillor Steve Riley - who called the application in - committee members voted seven to three in favour of the scheme.