Scores join protest against abattoir

SCORES of angry protestors gathered last night to make their feelings known about a proposed abattoir in a Suffolk village.Villagers at Yaxley are fiercely opposed to plans to build the facility on an 18-acre greenfield site on the B1117 into Eye.

SCORES of angry protesters gathered last night to make their feelings known about a proposed abattoir in a Suffolk village.

Villagers at Yaxley are fiercely opposed to plans to build the facility on an 18-acre greenfield site on the B1117 into Eye.

Meanwhile, one of the applicants said he was angry that his children had suffered intimidation at school over the matter. Eye councillors have already told of threats and intimidation after giving their backing to the abattoir.

Last night, Dominic Richards, owner of Yaxley Hall, whose grounds are just metres away from the proposed development, told protestors in the village: “This is a fight against an incredible development on a greenfield site.

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“It is time for us to be heard. We have had to do all this ourselves. We are just ordinary country people defending our beautiful countryside.

“We have been labelled extremists. I am sorry if some councillors feel threatened, but it is not they who are threatened, it is us, and our countryside. We have been spurred on by an extraordinary set of circumstances.”

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He urged everyone to tell 10 people to write to Mid Suffolk District Council and for 1,000 letters of objection to go to the council before the application is due to be heard on August 2.

Brothers Kevin and Chris Burrows, of C&K Meats, of Brome, want to put up a building occupying 2.1 acres of a 17.7-acre field.

It would have temporary housing for the animals, an abattoir, a cold store for chilling and storage of carcasses, offices and a processing area.

But Kate Cottam, one of the protestors, said: “If they put this down the road they will completely alter the area.

“Lorries will come through constantly and this road will become like all the other roads into Eye - completely industrialised.”

Lawrence Coe, on whose field the protest took place, added: “This is a protest by people who hold the countryside very dear to their hearts and who don't want to see it spoilt.”

Paul Geelmuyden, from Yaxley, said: “Whoever selected the site - either the applicant or Mid Suffolk -have made a very grave mistake as we can see from the number of people here today objecting to it.”

But Kevin Burrows, who has another two smaller applications awaiting appeal, said he believed the opposition to the abattoir had got out of hand as it had affected one of his children at school.

Watching the protesters last night, he said: “I take my hat off to them, what they have done here tonight. It is their right to speak out and I will answer any questions they may have. I am happy to do that, but please don't threaten my children.”

He said one of his children, who attends Hartismere High School, had complained of taunts from fellow pupils, who had called him a “murderer” and “scum”.

Mr Burrows has reported the incident to the school and the matter is in the hands of headteacher Richard Hewitt.

He said: “I am not having my children being subjected to stuff like that. I feel like pulling the whole thing.

“It is childish. At the Eye Town Council meeting the councillors said they had been intimidated. This is just not on.”

Mr Hewitt said a matter of name-calling had been dealt with through the proper channels at Hartismere.

Mr Burrows added: “People want to save rural England, but what they have to realise is to have a rural England, you have to have a commercial side to it. If there's not, who is going to pay for the cows in the fields and the sheep and pigs in the fields? You and I are going to with higher taxes. We can lose one field to save so many others.”

Mr Burrows he had worked with Mid Suffolk District Council on the application and the company cannot remain at its existing abattoir in Bungay because there is no room for expansion and the factory is too old.

East Anglia Food Link, which has supported the application, believes the abattoir is needed because it is of “critical importance” to East Anglia's local and regional food and farming system. It said the site has “good access and fewer neighbours than most alternatives”.

n Do you have a view on this application or the issues surrounding it? If you do write to us at Letters to the Editor, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN.

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