A CHARD family business says it needs a new planning application to go through if they are to continue bringing jobs and work to the town.

PJ&J Deardens is based on Chaffcombe Lane and has just submitted new proposals to take over a derelict site next to their current home.

Helen Dearden, co-owner of the company, said its future has been put at risk after losing its operating centre in recent months.

They are hoping to use the former Viridor site.

She said: “To have our application for change of use approved for the Viridor site would enable us to expand our present business and give us security of tenancy.

“We presently rent a parking area on the industrial estate at Cricket St Thomas. We have been served a three week notice as they have let our parking area to Modus.

“This is catastrophic for our business as we will have no legal operating centre to park on.”

Dearden’s Haulage currently has a number of restrictions in place for their Chaffcombe depot to avoid unnecessary disruption to the neighbours.

This means they cannot operate all their vehicles from the site when they need to.

However, the Viridor site, just a few hundred metres down the road, has no direct neighbours and so would give the Deardens the freedom to operate as they need to.

But, as the company is based near the Chard Reservoir, they expect some people may disagree with their plans.

Mrs Dearden added: “We do need this to stay. The main problem is the restrictions we have on our Chaffcombe yard.

“This is where the council encouraged us to move to and the Viridor site doesn’t have a direct neighbour so is ideal.

“It is exactly the same amount of vehicles that we currently have and actually the conservation area is the other side of the reservoir.

“Here has always been a commercial site. That is a brown site and it is for commercial purposes.”

The number of vehicles would also be significantly less than when Viridor operated the transfer station.

In the planning application, she said: “Vehicles are an integral park of our business, just selling aggregate from Chaffcombe depot is not enough to financially meet our overheads.

If planning for change of use was approved, it would ensure PJ&J Dearden (Chard) Ltd could continue to trade for another 26 years providing employment and services for local people.”

If given approval, the firm would also move materials away from their neighbour, as well as lorries.

“It would decrease the noise for Mr Woolacott, due to the operation not being so concentrated at any one time,” Mrs Dearden said.

“Vehicle movements would not increase as all the vehicles return to our present yard at Chaffcombe Depot for servicing and tipping.

“We are contributing to the local economy and we have got two apprentices here as well so we are providing jobs.

“We now have 14 people employed here.

“Obviously some people are going to object, but we are just here trying to do what we do.”