Kensworth Parish Council

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Kensworth Industrial Estate

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Following complaints received from residents living near Kensworth Industrial Estate, councillors have met with business owners and also raised issues with Central Bedfordshire Council planning and planning enforcement team, and the Vehicle and Operating Services Agency (VOSA) for further investigation.

Berryman Orchard Estate owner has advised that rebuilding works will start shortly and planning permission has been granted by Central Bedfordshire Council planning department.

Lutts Transport have applied to VOSA for a ‘Major Variation of Change’ to their operating licence and this will be decided by VOSA. Central Bedfordshire Council planning enforcement advised there are no flooding risks and pallet stacks are at prescribed heights and will continue to be monitored by enforcement.

The parish council and business owners realise that having an industrial estate in a residential area is not ideal, but all parties have done as much as they can to resolve any issues and urge residents to speak direct to business owners if they have any further issues or complaints.

Full extract from 12th May 2016 meeting are below:

15th April Clerk called VOSA regarding Lutts Transport Services operating licence. In order for Lutts to operate 14 vehicles from Kensworth Industrial Estate, they must apply for a ‘Major Variation of Change’. Vehicles are not permitted to operate from Berryman’s yard. VOSA will forward complaint to the intelligence reporting service to investigate claims. Clerk called VOSA again on 11th May and was told that an application for a ‘Major Variation of Change’ had been received from Lutt on 19th April and will be decided in approximately 9 weeks from date of receipt.

18th April Clerk emailed CBC planning enforcement regarding Lutts Transport Services pallets at a height of 6m & concerns regarding flood risk of the large area in the site which has been concreted over. 20th April the following reply was received from CBC Planning enforcement officer Mike Bailey; ‘Further to your email below, I visited the site this morning and met the Managing Director of Lutt & Sons. We walked round the site and noted a small number of instances where the stacks of pallets were slightly higher (up to 0.5m) than permitted. It was agreed that the heights of these stacks will be reduced to the permitted levels within the next 7 days – this is actually likely to take place over the coming weekend – and I will revisit in the week commencing 9 May to confirm that all is in order. It was also agreed that further instructions will be given to the site operatives to ensure that this does not recur. There was no evidence of any new concrete surface within the Lutts site. However I did note that another yard within the industrial estate had just completed resurfacing with block paving. Drainage channels have been provided, as well as the paving being laid in such a way as to allow surface water to drain between the blocks, so there should not be any increase in any flooding issues. Planning permission is therefore not required for the replacement hard surface’ Follow up email received on 10th May ‘By way of update I visited Lutts again this morning and the situation was much improved, with only a couple of stacks of pallets exceeding the prescribed heights. Sean Lutt explained that he is reorganising the layout of the yard so that the situation does not recur in the future, and this process is almost complete. I’ll be making a further check towards the end of the month.’ 

Chairman Pat Mitchell reported the following:

I had a request for a meeting with David Berryman concerning the parking of Lutts vehicles overnight at Orchard Estate. Mr Berryman explained that since the fire in 2015 they had been in negotiations for the insurance payment to rebuild the unit and he was concerned about the vulnerability of the vacant site from travellers. He had suffered several break-ins and metal pipes were stolen and damage was done to the office block. Once Lutts vehicles were on the site these break-ins had stopped. The neighbours to Orchard Estate were disturbed by the vehicles leaving Orchard Estate at 6am and asked Mr Berryman to speak to Lutts about a later start time of vehicle movement, which he did and from late March 2015 these movements have been at 7am. I explained to Mr Berryman that by using the Orchard Estate for overnight parking this was deemed to be an infringement of their licensing by VOSA. However, Mr Berryman advised that he now had the insurance money to commence rebuilding the site and he was going to see Mr Lutt to explain that his vehicles would no longer be able to use his land. This will mean that residents will have more vehicles coming up the lane during the rebuild.

John Worboys and I met Sean Lutt on Monday 9th May and he had received a visit from the Enforcement Officer about the height of his pallets. He is rearranging the way these pallets are stored and has reduced all but two piles to the correct height of 5mts, with 3mts at the periphery. The enforcement officer will be calling back to the yard to review the state of the pallets. We have received a note from the Enforcement Officer to this effect. Mr Lutt is proposing to store more of his vehicles on the A5 site he still owns and have the lorries to come up to the site in Kensworth for loading and unloading. He is also looking at a possible move to the Packhorse Industrial Estate but he needs a large storage area for the pallets which is hard to find. He is happy to talk to residents if they have any complaints and will be coming to the meeting on 12th May to take any issues from residents again.

John Worboys and I also spoke to Mr Harris from Harris Coachworks, about the complaint that he moves all his cars out on to the road every morning causing congestion. Mr Harris showed us four vehicles that he places in the layby each day and these are likely to change on a daily basis. The cars on the other side of the entrance belong to the man living in one of the bungalows who is running a second hand car business. This person is due to vacate the bungalow on 10th June and these cars will all be moved. Both Mr Lutt and Mr Harris will be pleased when this happens because it is giving them a bad name whilst nothing to do with them. Also as people come to the industrial estate to visit other units they park their cars on the road as well.

We all agreed that an industrial estate in a residential area is not the best option, this site has been here for many years and a precedent has been set. They both said people moving in to the village had to accept the status quo and realise that at night and weekends it is much quieter as the businesses are closed.

It was AGREED the parish council have done as much as they can to resolve any issues at Kensworth Industrial Estate and urge residents to speak to business owners direct if they have any further issues.

On 14th May 2016, David Berryman sent the below response and requested it be put on the website:

1.       Our factory was destroyed by fire on 17 January 2015. However, the office block was only partially damaged and is still standing. As a result of the office building being only damaged and not destroyed, the insurance claim has become very complicated and appears to be reaching its conclusion only now, some 16 months later.

2.       The factory and warehousing were demolished during the middle of 2015 , leaving a large vacant area on the site. My concern was that such a space could easily be the target for squatters, thieves or vandals.

3.       I visit the site regularly 2 or 3 times a week, but this can be for no more than to check, it cannot be preventative of any damage or trespass. I am afraid it has become increasingly one of noting the damage and vandalism which is happening.

4.       Consequently, when Sean Lutt asked he would be able park trailers on my site whilst he was carrying our work on his site, I was more than happy to do so. It seemed to me that the visible use of the site on a regular basis would deter intruders. In fact, I would argue that this is the case as we now have intruders only when the site gates are closed and there appears to be no activity taking place. It seems to me that this is in everyone’s best interests, including local residents.

5.       When Lutts take their trailers the additional 300 metres or so up Common Road, they pass 5 houses. I am in regular touch with two of these and have received only one request concerning these vehicles, that they should not go to Orchard Estate before 07.00 hours. Immediately this was asked., Lutts complied and the neighbours in question agreed that this agreement was being adhered to.  Please remember that if David Berryman Limited were still able to work from the site, there would be at least the same amount of traffic, working quite legitimately.

6.       With regard the legitimacy of the site, Orchard Estate (previously Bisley Works) has an Established Use status going back some 100 years. Following the fire, I felt it prudent to have our status re-confirmed with Central Beds Planning and received this confirmation in July 2015. I have at no time given permission for TRUCKS to be parked on my site, but I have openly and willingly given my permission for trailers to be left there temporarily free of charge. LUTTS DO NOT OPERATE FROM ORCHARD ESTATE. They are using the area to park their trailers temporarily and, whilst Orchard Estate is in such a vulnerable state, this is a common sense way to safeguard everyone’s (including residents) interests.

7.       I believe that, whilst VOSA may be correct in specifying where Lutts may leave their trucks, they do not have the right to tell me I may not allow trailers to be left on my site. I feel very strongly about this matter and intend to take legal advice.

8.       I think it is very important to emphasise yet again that I take the responsibilities of our position as working company in Kensworth very seriously. Which is why, when I heard rumours that there may be a problem, I asked to see Mrs Mitchell. I found the meeting useful and I hope she felt the same. However, there must have been a little miscommunication which I must correct. I said that the long delay in waiting for a conclusion to the insurance claim appears to be over. However, I did NOT say that RE-BUILDING of the factory would start imminently. I said that  CLEARING THE SITE (i.e. completion of the demolition) would start as soon as was possible.This would inevitably mean there would be an increase in traffic whilst work was being done. although any building work is some considerable way in the future.