Villagers rally against abattoir plans

LOCAL residents say they are “horrified” by plans to site a £3 million abattoir and associated 12 million litre effluent lagoon only a few hundred yards from their homes.

By David Green

LOCAL residents say they are “horrified” by plans to site a £3 million abattoir and associated 12 million litre effluent lagoon only a few hundred yards from their homes.

The plans have drawn up by Brome-based C & K Meats which currently slaughters animals in outdated buildings on a small site at Earsham, near Bungay, and says it needs to expand to protect its own future and those of suppliers.

The firm failed last year to obtain permission to build a new state-of-the-art abattoir on the Eye Business Park following opposition from existing companies manufacturing food products.

Now C & K Meats has identified a site for the development on an arable field near the A140 at Yaxley, close to the parish border with Eye and Braiseworth.

Plans submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council show a building accessed from the B1117 Yaxley to Eye road, 200 metres by 38 metres and 11.5 metres tall.

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A statement accompanying the plans suggests the plant will be capable to slaughtering 3,000 pigs, 600 sheep and 250 cattle per week.

Shaun Featherstone, who lives with his wife, Rachel, in nearby Woodland Cottage, said the proposed development would be about 300 yards from their home.

“We and our neighbours are horrified. We know these plants have got to go somewhere but if it is so close to homes there is sure to be noise disturbance and smell,” he said.

Mr Featherstone said the planning application suggested work could continue at the plant from 4 am until 8 pm in the evening on weekdays.

But a spokesman at the Bull Auberge restaurant - beside the A140 about half a mile from the proposed development site - said the business had no concerns.

“They are intending to put up a forest of trees to screen the site and we have no objection in either moral, ethical or commercial terms,” he said.

Kevin Burrows, joint managing director of C & K Meats, said the operation of the plant would be strictly controlled by the Environment Agency and he was confident it would not cause noise or smell problems to local residents.

“We understand they will want to ask questions but we would like to ease their minds on this. We don't want to disturb anyone - we just want to get on with a business which has been on hold for the past three years,” he said.

Livestock would not start arriving at the plant before about 5.45 am while effluent would be cleaned before going into the lagoon where it would be recycled for washing livestock areas and for irrigating farmland, Mr Burrows said.

Farmers over a wide area supported the need for a local abattoir to avoid them having to transport livestock over large distances, causing stress to animals and adding to production costs.

“The new plant will employ 55 to 65 people and is vitally important for the local economy,” he said.

If planning permission was granted for the new site the firm would not be proceeding with an appeal against refusal of planning permission for the development at Eye Business Park - a plan which had been supported by individual letters and a petition from more than 600 farmers.

Unless a new abattoir is built, farmers in the Waveney Valley area faced a journey with livestock to premises near Norwich, Mr Burrows added.

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