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Factory decision angers villagers

PUBLISHED: 13:01 17 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

CAMPAIGNERS have lost their fight to stop a poultry processing plant more than double in size.

To the dismay of villagers, councillors at Mid Suffolk District Council yesterday voted unanimously to give the green light to family firm JW Diapers & Sons to extend the poultry factory in the village of Haughley New Street, near Stowmarket.

By James Fraser

CAMPAIGNERS have lost their fight to stop a poultry processing plant more than double in size.

To the dismay of villagers, councillors at Mid Suffolk District Council yesterday voted unanimously to give the green light to family firm JW Diapers & Sons to extend the poultry factory in the village of Haughley New Street, near Stowmarket.

Fears of an increase in traffic, noise and smells were ignored by members of the authority's planning committee in favour of clearing the way for the small rural company to boost business in what was described as its "niche market".

The protester's concerns "seem to be based on what might happen in the future," district councillor Audrey Lilley, told a planning meeting at the authority's Needham Market chambers.

"Anyone moving in to the area would have seen a well established business that is slowly progressing.

"This did not put them off moving in, and it is not as if this is a new factory being imposed on them," she said.

"I have never heard of any problems. There are few enough of these in the area, small businesses giving local employment in a market that is needed. I give it every support.''

The firm had earlier told the council that it did not intend to expand production or take on more staff, but wanted the most efficient processing plant to allow them to compete in a very difficult market.

Staff said they were delighted with the decision, but David Evans, district councillor for Haughley, said he feared the expansion would allow the company to increase production from 50,000 birds a day to 200,000.

He added: "I want to limit the factory's operating hours to 6am to 6pm, and that includes loading vehicles.

"There are deliveries at 3am, with people arriving before that. Live birds are there before 6am so production can start at 6am.

"We do not want vehicles there at this time and if this goes through, there will be more vehicles.''

Speaking after the meeting, resident and chairman of the Haughley New Street Action Group, John Lloyd, said he was "very concerned" with the decision.

The council's southern area planning control committee voted to grant planning permission, subject to nine conditions tackling noise levels, restricting processing, but not working hours, and landscaping.

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