Abbattoir bid fears allayed at inquiry
FEAR of contamination from a proposed new £3 million abattoir was likened by a barrister yesterday to a fear of “Martians” landing.While such fears had to be acknowledged, they had no scientific basis and should not be given any weight in the planning process, said Richard Wald , representing C & K Meats of Brome, near Eye, on the final day of a public inquiry.
By David Green
FEAR of contamination from a proposed new £3 million abattoir was likened by a barrister yesterday to a fear of “Martians” landing.
While such fears had to be acknowledged, they had no scientific basis and should not be given any weight in the planning process, said Richard Wald , representing C & K Meats of Brome, near Eye, on the final day of a public inquiry.
The company wants to create a new multi-species abattoir on an industrial estate called Eye Business Park to serve the needs of livestock producers over a large part of East Anglia.
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However, Mid Suffolk District Council believes the development would be against planning policies and would harm the estate's “pleasant” environment.
Food firms already operating on the industrial estate are fearful that an actual or perceived risk of airborne contamination will be detrimental to their trade and the concerns were taken into consideration by the district council when it refused planning permission.
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But Mr Wald, summing up his client's appeal against the refusal, suggested the abattoir development was within the scope of the council's planning policy.
He also dismissed fears of food contamination, claiming that no evidence had been produced by either the district council or the Eye Business Park Association to show there was an actual risk.
There was no scientific basis for the contention and the fear should be given as much weight in the planning process as would a fear of Martians landing, Mr Wald claimed.
“It is not a matter of ignoring fears but of not attaching any weight to them,” he said.
Mr Wald said the major retail chains were locating premises next to abattoirs and C& K Meats would have its own pre-cooked food business closest to the proposed development.
David Blundell, solicitor for Mid Suffolk District Council, said perceived fears of the public were a planning factor which had to be taken into account.
“It is open to this inquiry, therefore, to give weight to the concerns expressed by the occupants of the business park, even if they are ultimately decided to be without foundation,” he said.
The reasons for refusal of planning permission were well-founded and had been substantiated at the inquiry, he said.
The class of businesses deemed suitable for the industrial estate did not include an abattoir, Mr Blundell claimed.
He added that the council did not dispute the fact that the existence of an abattoir in the region was desirable but the site proposed was inappropriate.
The inquiry inspector, Laura Graham, is expected to announce her decision in early February.