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Development could end 'whiff'

PUBLISHED: 05:12 29 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

YEARS of misery from the so-called 'Woolpit whiff' could be brought to an end as farmer John Clarke bids to develop his land.

Mid Suffolk District Council is currently reviewing its Local Plan, which will form a blueprint for development into the next decade.

YEARS of misery from the so-called 'Woolpit whiff' could be brought to an end as farmer John Clarke bids to develop his land.

Mid Suffolk District Council is currently reviewing its Local Plan, which will form a blueprint for development into the next decade.

Landowners in the district have submitted bids for their holdings to be included as potential development sites, and among those bids is Mr Clarke's application.

Stephen Andrews, Local Plan manager with the council, said Mr Clarke wants the whole of Rookery Farm at Drinkstone turned in to either homes or become an extension to the existing neighbouring Woolpit Business Park.

He said: "The extent of the land bid covers the whole of Mr Clarke's holding at Rookery Farm, Drinkstone, near Stowmarket.

"His agent has requested residential reuse of the land or employment or business use, they suggest as an extension to the Woolpit Business Park.

"If an alternative use were found for the land Mr Clarke might wish to cease operation, but there would be no guarantee that there would be an immediate cessation of the activities on the site.''

Mr Clarke said it is an option he is considering and he could move his operation to Lakenheath further away from people's homes.

He said: "It's just an option. Mid Suffolk suggested it could be a possible way, but I do not know what they will do (with the application), there is no telling. We could move the operation up to Lakenheath."

But Mike Coad, a Drinkstone parish councillor, said the issue was debated at their last parish council meeting where they decided they were not in favour of such a development because it was inappropriate.

John Guyler, parish council chairman at Woolpit, said: "I would probably not welcome this, it would depend on what was put in there. At the end of the day it could be out of the frying pan and in to the fire with all the extra traffic generated."

If the Rookery Farm proposal was adopted by the council it would have to pass through two stages of formal consultation and a public inquiry, before the proposals could be acted on and planning permission sought.

Meanwhile a public inquiry in to Mr Clarke's attempt to overturn a Mid Suffolk District Council decision stopping him creating a rendering operation at Rookery Farm to create fertilizer is due to continue today.

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