VILLAGERS fear losing farmland and being plagued by “thundering” lorries if plans for a “huge” storage centre are given the green light.

Flying Trade Group is looking to build a new storage and distribution centre on agricultural land off Old Ipswich Road, Ardleigh.

The scheme, which would serve the company’s subsidiary Surya Foods, would include distribution warehouses, office space and car parking.

Objections raised against the plan include fears over its size, with buildings reaching 19 metres high.

If approved, the plans would include building 180 to 200 parking spaces for employees.

Ardleigh historian Jill Hamblin said: “Ceaseless round the clock working is proposed, along with buildings 19 metres high.

“Heavy goods vehicles will thunder along unsuitable roads.

“Residents along Ardleigh’s country lanes will have no peace.

“It’s a scheme more fitting to a big industrial estate than to a village.”

In one of more than 30 public objections to the scheme, Melanie Hunnaball, of Old Ipswich Road, said the centre would “change the village detrimentally forever”.

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • How the new storage facility could look if given the go ahead

“There are reasons why people choose to live in the English countryside,” she said.

“Ardleigh, which has historic buildings dating back to the 16th century, holds such appeal for those who have established family homes here throughout many generations.”

A Flying Trade Group spokesman said: “There will be no vehicle movement down Wick Lane and through the village.

“We requested in February 2020 with Essex Highways for Old Ipswich Road to have a speed restriction of 30mph and for the inclusion of double yellow lines to aid the route on and off the A12.

“We have already approached a representative of the parish and have requested an audience with the community to discuss concerns.

“We are a progressive company after starting in 1994 with a Tendring Investment Group: We have continued to grow and invest in all of our companies, which now appears in the UK’s Fast Track 200 for the past three years running.

“We currently supply to all national retailers and export to over 40 countries and we do have ambitious plans for further expansion.

“We have already invested over £10 million into Colchester which includes the development of St Nicholas House and the redevelopment of The George Hotel.

“This investment initially will create more than 300 new permanent jobs for the Tendring and Colchester area along with development work for self employed builders.”