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Risby: Anthrax fear raised as permission given for 20 new homes

PUBLISHED: 08:53 07 March 2014

Risby

Risby

Archant

Concern about the burial of anthrax-infected cattle on or near land earmarked for 20 new homes has been raised by councillors.

An outline planning application for the development of 1.68 hectares of agricultural land south of School Road, Risby, was waved through by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s development control committee on Thursday.

But permission for the Pigeon (Risby) backed scheme, which includes six affordable homes, is subject to the signing of a 106 agreement worth more than £200,000 and numerous conditions including an investigation to assess the nature and extent of any contamination.

Environmental services have advised the planning authority that the site may have been subject to the burial of cattle from Quays Farm, Risby in 1935 after an outbreak of the potentially deadly disease anthrax.

Speaking at the meeting at West Suffolk House, councillor Angela Rushen, said: “I think it looks like a good development and the affordable housing issue is good. What concerns me though is that cattle with anthrax were buried here in the 1930s and no one knows exactly where.”

Following a previous application, which was subsequently withdrawn for different reasons, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) said that “should a developer or contractor proceed with excavation on the site and in the process find any animal remains indicating a burial site they are obliged to cease work and advise this office immediately.”

A planning officer told the meeting that a contaminated land condition is attached to the permission, on the advice of Environmental Health Services to make sure an adequate risk assessment has been carried out on the site prior to development commencing.

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