The other item of business at Thursday's Parish Council meeting was consideration of a planning application from Poundfield Products, who make concrete products at Grove Farm, at the southern end of the Parish.
They want permission to retain two mobile gantry cranes which they put up in February 2009, without planning permission - something which Mr Jardine, the owner of the site has rather a lot of past form on.
We were somewhat surprised on the Parish Council last year to receive notice of an application for a change of use for Orchard Lea, the tied cottage next to Grove Farm, as it turned out that the owners, Mr and Mrs Jardine, had broken the terms of their planning permission in 2000 and were applying for it to be made a fait accompli on the grounds that more than ten years had passed since the initial breach.
So the discovery that the astonishingly garish yellow cranes, which are a blight on a Special Landscape Area, are there without any thought of planning permission until now comes as no great surprise. Unsurprisingly, local residents are not happy, as they spoil the view over the river valley, are noisy, and are festooned with bright lights which can be seen from the Stowupland side of our village.
I have to admit that the cranes have annoyed me for some time, as they are intrusive and wholly inappropriate. And, as a parish councillor, I have the opportunity to do something about it, so I took a very firm view against the application. The site brings no advantage to villagers, as none of the employees live here, the application is only the most recent of a series of apparent abuses of planning law, and it is high time that Mid Suffolk District Council took action.
In truth, I suspect that they will get their permission, as Mid Suffolk's Planning Department is notoriously useless (although the Building Regulations team is pretty good), and their enforcement record is even worse. Normally, I would demand action from our District Councillor, who will doubtless wring her hands in that annoying way that she often does, and tell us that there is nothing that she can do. After all, what can be expected, she is only a member of the ruling group and Chair of the Planning Committee...
However, we as a Parish Council do have a responsibility here, and I intend to propose that we initiate a programme of reviews of commercial planning applications within the Parish, so that we can bring breaches to the attention of the District Council, and force them to act.
And I'm minded to start with the permission granted to build a new building for the storage of crops at Grove Farm...