PLANNING permission has been refused for the removal of a disused factory in Beachley after councillors described it as an ‘established employment site’.

The Forest of Dean District Council planning committee met last Wednesday (10th October) to discuss the application, which has been fought over since first being lodged in June 2017.

The plans sought to replace the former Buttington Works factory, deserted and dilapidated for decades, with an extension to the neighbouring Severn Bridge Park of 35 additional mobile homes.

Despite no local objection and the full backing of the parish council, district councillors first halted the application in August last year, when they claimed more information about the demolition was required.

The recent final refusal was blamed on the site’s location outside Beachley’s defined settlement boundary, a risk of flooding, and even stating the design of the site fails ‘to integrate the development into the surrounding character of the area’.

Councillors also complained that by demolishing the derelict factory, the build would “result in the loss of an established employment site and that being solely for residential purposes does not provide an employment or mixed use development that would sustain the local community”.

The decision has caused outrage from local residents, as they hoped to say goodbye to the ‘eyesore’ factory.

A Severn Bridge Park homeowner said: “To all who live at Severn Bridge Park, the current dilapidated factory is, at the very least, a real eyesore and at worst a real danger to local residents where, in high winds, correlated panels have been known to be blown off and land in residential space! Surely clearance of this old factory site and the addition of new homes is in everyone’s best interest?

“There is a real sense of disbelief from both the owners of the site and many of the residents as to why this application has been refused.”