Factory expansion given the go-ahead

AN aerospace factory at Bridgeyate will double in size after councillors granted planning permission despite objections.

South Gloucestershire Council development management committee unanimously approved the application by McBraida family-owned Bridgeyate Eng Works, near Warmley, with the expansion securing its future.

But 59 neighbours objected to the plans, raising concerns about road safety due to extra lorries coming out of a new exit on Bath Road, and said the larger building will be overbearing and overlook nearby properties.

Siston Parish Council chairman Andrew Stacey told the meeting the design was “oppressive and depressive” and out of keeping in a residential area.

He said the additional storey at the front and back of the plant would strip the surrounding area of its character and heritage, while the extension would require the demolition of two houses.

Resident Judith Robson told the committee on August 17, that noise from the business, which makes precision machined parts for the aviation industry, was already a problem.

She said: “We are not Nimbys, we already have the factory in our backyards, and we are not against McBraida being successful, but we are against the overdevelopment of this site and are highly concerned about safety for road and pedestrian users.”

Ward councillor Sam Bromiley (Conservative, Parkwall & Warmley) said the expansion would bring the building too close to homes and the new road junction would mean the loss of part of the common.

But Adam McBraida told members that the fourth-generation family company was proud to be part of the community and the Bristol aerospace industry.

He said: “At the heart of this proposal is a family legacy, one that is woven into the fabric of South Gloucestershire.

“We’re not outsiders seeking profit, we are locals investing in a shared future. This development of our business is a necessity to remain resilient in the face of international competition, predominantly from Asia.”

He said the factory in Bridgeyate, which opened in 1959 and employs 180 staff, was too cramped and was stifling its operations and ability to harness new technologies.

“We are very conscious of our presence in a residential area and have been involving the neighbours every step of the way,” Mr McBraida said. “We are not just providing jobs, we are providing a sense of belonging and a place where careers can thrive.”

Principal planning officer David Stockdale said the council had designated the site as a “safeguarded employment zone”. He said the proposals were acceptable and that no windows would overlook the nearest homes.

Mr Stockdale said: “This is one of balance. There are harms from the proposal.”

He said the council’s landscape officer, ecologist and economic development team were happy with the redevelopment and that there was no objection from the noise protection department.

Highways officer Chris Rose said the new exit was acceptable.

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service