Slaughterhouse plan is turned down by council for a second time

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House - Credit: Archant

A bid to build a combined chicken farm and slaughterhouse capable of processing 16,000 birds a week has been thrown out for a second time.

The farm, near Farcet, was designed to "export" the chickens - killed in the halal tradition - to Muslim markets in London and the Midlands, working around the clock with six staff.

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said there was "substantial local opposition" to the plan and that an abattoir close to residential areas was "completely inappropriate".

Mr Vara's objections went to Huntingdonshire District Council which has now refused permission for the plan by Najabat Hussein. A similar scheme for the site was turned down in December 2017.

The district council ruled against the farm and slaughterhouse on the grounds that the site was at a high probability of flooding and that the applicant had not submitted any evidence that alternative sites with less of a flood risk had been considered.

It also said there was insufficient information over water drainage from the land and the application had failed to demonstrate that a safe access could be achieved.

The council received 562 representations about the plan, most of which opposed it on grounds including pollution, traffic problems, the scale of the development, noise, smells and animal welfare. There was also a 300 signature petition against it.

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Mr Vara told the council: "As you will be aware, there is substantial local opposition to this proposal, including all three of the ward councillors.

"The application would create a significant poultry-rearing and killing operation in close proximity to the settlements of Farcet and South Stanground. The presence of an abattoir so close to densely populated residential areas is completely inappropriate."

Mr Vara added: "The operation is likely to result in intrusive odours emanating from the site, particularly during cleaning and there is a lack of information concerning the applicant's plans for waste disposal. This waste would include dust, excrement and feathers at regular intervals due to the short production cycle."

The plan involved 100,000 broiler chickens being on the site split between four 5.7m high sheds, an on-site slaughterhouse and 7m food silos. About 16,000 slaughtered birds would go into the meat market each week in an operation which would need an environmental permit from the Environment Agency.

A statement to planners on behalf of the applicant said preliminary reports indicated "no serious problem" with flood risk, traffic movements or air and noise pollution.

It said the aim was to create a small scale agriculture-based enterprise and that the proposal to slaughter the birds on-site meant the need to transfer them to a slaughterhouse elsewhere would be avoided. There would be one lorry a week delivering chicks and four to take the meat away.

The statement said: "Pre-application research and consideration has been undertaken to ensure that there will be no loss of amenity to others as a result of a sound business proposal which will be to the positive benefit of local people and to the economy of the area generally. It is considered that the overall proposal meets all current requirements of sustainability and diversification of rural activities."

It added: "Much of our poultry meat is currently imported at great cost to the planet in terms of sustainability and consequent to our own rural economy.

"Halal meat production is also very limited in this country. The proposed site is ideally situated close to the national major road and rail networks to supply halal meat products to the Midlands and London."