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Company defends Norfolk fuel depot plans

PUBLISHED: 14:59 13 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:39 02 July 2010

Philip Colchester.

Philip Colchester.

Stephanie Brooks

A petroleum company was made to defend its plans to build a £1million fuel depot in Attleborough during a heated public meeting with families, councillors and business owners.

Stephanie Brooks

A petroleum company was made to defend its plans to build a £1million fuel depot in Attleborough during a heated public meeting with families, councillors and business owners.

Representatives from Rix Petroleum (East Anglia) presented their proposals at Attleborough Town Hall on Friday in the hope of winning over objectors.

However, they spent the evening hitting back at claims that the depot would be hazardous and heard threats from some business owners that they would consider leaving Attleborough if Rix Petroleum moved in.

The Besthorpe-based company, a subsidiary of family-owned J.R. Rix & Sons, has submitted plans to build a depot on the new Victory Business Park - a former agricultural site next to the Haverscroft Industrial Estate.

Director Rory Beath said the company's future depends on the relocation as it would ensure stock levels and supply its 9,000 customers despite the impending closure of the Ipswich terminal. He pledged that no petrol would be stored at the depot - only gas oil and diesel - and the chance of a spillage was very remote.

“When people think about fuel depots they think of something bigger then we're proposing. They think it's big, it's risky; they think about the Buncefield fire. It's not like that,” he said.

But Steve Hall, who helped collect a 600 signature petition against the plans, said: “You're saying you have a good health and safety record and I'm sure it's not in your interest to be unsafe, but catastrophic accidents do happen. If an accident happened on the site you're so close to other businesses you would wipe them out.”

Philip Colchester, managing director of Breckland Print on the Haverscroft Industrial Estate, said: “I cannot risk my business being in the shadow of a fuel depot. People could lose their jobs because I would move.”

The plans are due to be discussed by Breckland Council's development control committee next month.

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