Alan Chapman, managing director at the Relyon and Pritex factories, attended a town council meeting to explain why the site needs a new entrance that will mean extra lorry and car traffic through the Longforth Farm housing estate.
“It’s crucial to sell Pritex and invest money back into the Relyon part of the business,” said Mr Chapman after explaining how a financial meltdown in the South African parent company had affected local matters. “We need to split the site so that Pritex can be sold as a completely standalone business – and there is a lot of interest from would-be purchasers.”
After hearing Mr Chapman, councillors voted unanimously to support the planning application for the new factory entrance but acknowledged that it was a far from perfect answer to the town’s traffic problems.
“I’m sure this will be a shock for a number of Longforth Farm residents, as I’m pretty sure a number of them they didn’t know when they bought their houses that that there were going to be heavy lorries going past the front door,” said Cllr John Thorne.
“It’s a compromise but then the whole scheme is a compromise from the original plan for a relief road that was going to cross the railway line and provide direct access to the Swallowfield factory as well,” said Cllr Andy Govier.
“We can’t not support this application but the Relyon lorries will still be coming through the middle of town, so it’s only half of what we wanted,” said Cllr Janet Lloyd.