Utility services firm allowed to use former equestrian centre for storage

A business based near Stone can expand after being given the go-ahead to move into a former equestrian centre.

A Google Street View Image Of Eccleshall Road Norton Bridge
A Google Street View Image Of Eccleshall Road Norton Bridge

Stone Utility Services currently rents a premises on a business park in Cold Meece. The relocation to a new base at Norton Bridge will provide a larger space for onsite storage of pipework for gas, water and telecommunications services, as well as enabling the firm to retain its 52 staff members and expand the workforce as the business grows, Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee heard on Wednesday.

The equestrian centre at Eccleshall Road is currently vacant and the existing building will be converted internally for its new use. An area previously used as a menage will become a car park and storage space.

There were no objections from residents submitted to Stafford Borough Council. But Chebsey Parish Council raised concerns that the proposed commercial activities were inappropriate and the application could lead to the creation of an industrial area in rural surroundings.

Stafford Borough Council member Peter Jones, who represents the Eccleshall ward, called in the change of use application for discussion by the planning committee.

He said: “I am concerned that the introduction of a storage and distribution centre into the village will cause an unacceptable increase in the amount of traffic, much of which could be of a heavy variety and change the nature of the community.”

A co-owner of the neighbouring industrial estate wrote in support of the plans however.

They said: “I understand that it will allow Stone Utility Services to expand their operation consequently creating employment. In my opinion the council should be doing all that they can to support planning applications like this one.

“The location and accessibility via the B5026 and the A34 make it suitable for this application to be approved. It will tidy up this now neglected site which can only be good for the environment.”

The application was recommended for approval by planning officers before Wednesday’s meeting and committee members unanimously voted in favour of granting permission.

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