Horse incinerator plans rejected

DETERMINED residents fighting plans for a horse crematorium in their village have claimed victory after councillors threw out the proposal.Nearly 50 protestors turned out to hear Suffolk County Council's decision on whether to allow an incinerator to be built on the Shepherds Grove Industrial Estate, in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds.

DETERMINED residents fighting plans for a horse crematorium in their village have claimed victory after councillors threw out the proposal.

Nearly 50 protestors turned out to hear Suffolk County Council's decision on whether to allow an incinerator to be built on the Shepherds Grove Industrial Estate, in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds.

And they were “delighted” when six out of 10 councillors voted against the application, submitted by Horse Plus Ltd in March this year.

Proposals for the site of a former mushroom growing plant sparked a backlash from villagers, who claimed there would be a detrimental impact on the surrounding area due to smoke and smell from the incinerator chimney.


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They also raised concerns over potential air and water pollution, the viability of the business, and issues linked to the transportation and storage of horse carcases.

“This is not just a 'not in my back yard', and most of these residents are not the sort of people who oppose everything,” said Joanna Spicer, the county councillor who represents Stanton.

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After the meeting, she said her council colleagues had shown “great courage” by voting against the officers' recommendations.

Horse Plus Ltd, which runs the Horse Cremation Service, had an application for a similar incineration plant at Earl Stonham, near Stowmarket, turned down last year, although the firm went on to win an appeal against the council's decision.

The service, which aims to give customers a “respectful and fitting final farewell to their horse”, works by collecting the bodies of the dead animals in adapted vehicles, before taking them to an incineration plant. The ashes of the horse are then returned to the owner in a wooden casket.

During yesterday's development control committee meeting at Endeavour House, in Ipswich, both residents and councillors said not enough information was available about the details of the application to be able to make a decision, and called for a deferral, with a possible site visit to the plant at Earl Stonham.

But the application was eventually turned down on the grounds of “insufficient evidence”.

Speaking after the meeting, resident Jim Thorndyke, who is chairman of Stanton Parish Council as well as ward member for St Edmundsbury Borough councillor, said he could “not quite believe” the outcome.

“I was really surprised to see it refused, because I was hoping for a site visit at best,” he said. “The owner will almost certainly appeal and we will have to do it all over again, but the application has been turned down and that is the main thing.”

Fred Britton, chairman of the Stanton Residents Association, said people had felt passionately about the campaign.

“We are delighted, and we have to remain positive that the appeal will go our way as well,” he said.

Mike Morris-Watson, director of the Horse Cremation Service, confirmed after the meeting his firm would be appealing against the council's decision. “We were not surprised at the outcome, and we are confident of getting it overturned at appeal,” he said.

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