Gates Nurseries and Garden Centre in Cold Overton has been given the green light by Melton Council’s planning committee to significantly expand its parking.
The business is to re-surface the existing overflow car park with a permanent hard surface and create a new overflow car park to be used by customers and staff at peak times. The changes will result in an additional 330 car parking spaces being created.
But the plans were not welcomed by Cold Overton resident and parish councillor Richard Bates who spoke up at Thursday’s planning meeting, raising concerns about the increased traffic, noise from forklift trucks and how the growth of the business would affect the village.
Maurice Fairhurst, representing the applicants, made it clear that the application was to extend the car park, not the retail space.
He added: “This site employs 80 people and attracts a lot of people to the borough. Since the completion of the new restaurant, just before last Christmas, customers have been staying there longer. If they can’t park within the site some will park on the highway verges in the village. The applicants want to avoid this.”
Mr Fairhurst said immediate neighbours to the site hadn’t objected and one only one letter of objection had been received from the village.
He added: “Part of the proposal is also to construct more disabled parking spaces, increasing the number from four to 18.”
Planning committee member and Somerby ward councillor Leigh Higgins said he could see the economic benefits but also understood the concerns about increased traffic, adding that he didn’t want to see inconsiderate parking.
Councillor Pru Chandler added: “This is one of the most successful businesses in the borough and is also a tourist attraction. We have really got to get behind successful local businesses which draw people into the borough.”
The planning application was unanimously approved subject to conditions. It was explained that the council took take measures to address the issue of noise from forklift trucks at the site if complaints were received.