Farmer's land bid fails
A FARMER has failed to have his land earmarked for homes in a move which could have ended the saga of so-called Woolpit whiff.Mid Suffolk District Council is currently reviewing its Local Plan, which will form the blueprint for development into the next decade.
A FARMER has failed to have his land earmarked for homes in a move which could have ended the saga of so-called Woolpit whiff.
Mid Suffolk District Council is currently reviewing its Local Plan, which will form the blueprint for development into the next decade.
Landowners in the district have submitted bids for their holdings to be included as potential development sites.
Farmer John Clarke has applied for his Rookery Farm site in Drinkstone, near Stowmarket, to be zoned for residential or business use, possibly providing land for Woolpit Business Park to expand.
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The farm has been linked to the Woolpit whiff, which villagers have complained about for years. Mr Clarke once kept 8,000 pigs, but stopped three years ago. He has since argued before a public inquiry earlier this year that he needs to diversify, using existing cooking machinery for rendering to create fertilizer at Rookery Farm. The move was opposed by many local people who fear more smells, and a decision has yet to be reached by the inspector.
David Sparkes, from Mid Suffolk District Council, said it had decided any housing bids in the smaller villages without a good range of facilities would, in general, not be supported.
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That means Mr Clarke's bid has failed to go through for further consideration and consultations with parish councillors. The land for employment bids are still being considered, including that aspect of Mr Clarke's bid.
Mr Sparkes said: "Drinkstone does not have a range of facilities, it is not one of the places to look to for houses. Woolpit does, but is some distance away and this bid has been rejected.
"For housing land bids, we have made a general decision to look further at villages with a range of facilities and, as a general rule, not to support bids made for smaller villages without a good range of facilities, like Combs."
Mr Clarke said he had not considered whether he would challenge the decision before a planning inspector at a public inquiry.
"Woolpit is designated for housing and we are within 100 metres of its settlement boundary. You might as well say we are in Woolpit," he added.
"A lot of locals would like it, although there was no support from the four (local) parish councils, which seems a bit bizarre."
A spokesman for the Environmental Health Department at Mid Suffolk District Council said there were still occasional complaints about odour in the area, but very few compared to the numbers they used to get. He added it could be difficult to track the source of the whiffs.