Fighting fund set up to fight Sedgeford chicken factory proposal

Meeting of Sedgeford Parish Council ANL-150319-115331001
Meeting of Sedgeford Parish Council ANL-150319-115331001
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A fighting fund has been set up by residents opposed to plans to build a poultry farm that could house up to 360,000 birds.

More than 100 people attended a public meeting at Sedgeford village hall on Sunday evening, where a No to Poultry Factory action group was set up to campaign against the scheme.

And more than £3,000 has already been pledged to help fund expert advice and representation to boost the campaign.

The group now intends to co-ordinate campaigning against the application in Sedgeford, Docking, Fring, Ringstead, Bircham, Snettisham and Heacham.

Group chairman Nick Skerritt said: “I have been encouraged by the strength of opposition from our local communities.

“There is a feeling that the inappropriate size and location of the development, the increase in heavy traffic through our country lanes with the consequent dangers and the unquantifiable odour would spoil our quality of life and, most importantly, damage tourism that is so vital to the local economy.”

Mr Skerritt said he had received an assurance of support for the campaign from the Conservative general election candidate Henry Bellingham. He added: “We are now going forward with a leafleting and poster campaign encouraging everyone to write in to the West Norfolk Council planning department and object.”

Developers Newcombe Baker Farms Ltd are seeking permission to build eight new poultry sheds on the former Whin Close site in Docking Road, Sedgeford.

The site, which would be accessed from the B1454, lies around a mile west of Sedgeford and just under two miles to the east of Docking.

Documents submitted as part of the planning application said the proposed sheds were of a typical style and construction for modern poultry farms.

And an environmental assessment prepared on the applicants’ behalf insisted, that any odours released from the site would be within environmental guidelines.

The report said: “It is often the older buildings with less efficient ventilation and insulation that lead to odour problems.

“Odour emissions will be less and performance, welfare and profitability enhanced.

“These problems can be avoided and are certainly not anticipated at the applicationsite with the new more efficient sheds.”

They also maintain that the ecological impact of the scheme would be very low and that any increase in traffic would be concentrated at specific times during the production process.

But dozens of people have already voiced their objections to the application in comments published on the borough council’s website.

One objector, Peter Melchett, has also claimed there are “compelling” health reasons for refusing the application.

He has cited several European studies which suggest known risks to people working on intensive agricultural units can also be faced by residents living nearby.