Villagers’ joy at “Whiff” deal

COUNCIL chiefs have today declared the end of the notorious “Woolpit whiff”.

VILLAGERS whose lives have been blighted by the notorious “Woolpit whiff” were last night celebrating after learning the rendering operation behind the smell was to stop.

For decades, residents of Drinkstone, Woolpit, Tostock and Beyton have complained about the smells and lorry movements connected with the animal rendering operation at Rookery Farm in Drinkstone, near Bury St Edmunds.

The odour, which residents claim has blighted their lives, was at the centre of multiple court cases involving both the farm’s late owner John Clarke, who died last year, and Mid Suffolk District Council.

The most recent legal wrangle erupted after the council issued an enforcement notice to stop the animal rendering on the site.

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A public inquiry into the case was then delayed following the death of Mr Clarke’s 25-year-old son James, who was killed when he was hit by a car as he crossed the A14 on foot July 18. James Clarke had taken over the running prior to his death.

The district council yesterday confirmed an agreement had been struck to cease rendering operations at the farm.

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Tim Passmore, leader of the district council, said: “I am pleased to report that an agreement has been reached to cease the rendering at Rookery Farm in Woolpit.

“The decision to cease rendering at Rookery Farm was taken in consultation with the personal representatives of the late John Clarke and of the next of kin of the late James Clarke.”

The news was yesterday welcomed villagers, who revealed rumours about the cessation of rendering had been circulating in the village in recent days.

Reverend Ruth Farrell, of Woolpit, said: “It is going to make a huge difference. There’s a real sense of relief. There has also been the problem of all the trucks so it will also be a relief in terms of the roads not to have those.”

Jane Storey, county councillor for the area, said whenever she visited Wooolpit only a few minutes would pass before somebody mentioned the smell, which, depending on the direction of the wind, affected other villages including Drinkstone and Tostock.

“It is something that has been going on for so long,” Mrs Storey said. “It has been a constant issue. This will make a big difference.”

Sue Bolden, chairman of the Woolpit Action Group, said: “This is a result looked for by the residents of all four villages (Woolpit, Drinkstone, Tostock and Beyton) which have been affected over the years. It is to be welcomed.”

Nobody was available for comment yesterday at Rookery Farm.

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