Farmer vows to defend his corner

WOOLPIT whiff farmer John Clarke today vowed to "defend his corner" against any legal action brought against him by Mid Suffolk District Council.The 60-year-old could be hauled before the courts to settle an ongoing dispute about the use of his Rookery Farm site, in Drinkstone, for industrial rendering and waste processing.

WOOLPIT whiff farmer John Clarke today vowed to "defend his corner" against any legal action brought against him by Mid Suffolk District Council.

The 60-year-old could be hauled before the courts to settle an ongoing dispute about the use of his Rookery Farm site, in Drinkstone, for industrial rendering and waste processing.

Councillors unanimously decided on the action at a meeting following complaints about the stench caused by the business.

But Mr Clarke, who has been at the farm for more than 30 years, today said he had yet to be notified of the decision and had done nothing wrong.

"We'll wait to see what the council says but we'll definitely fight our corner," he said.

"The only time it was a nuisance was in the summer when we had the hottest day for 300 years.

Most Read

"We had a lot of chickens to process and that caused us problems. Up to July this year they would've gone to a landfill or been buried but we have to render them now because we can't do anything else."

The council disputes Mr Clarke's claims and is pushing ahead with an application for a High Court order to stop the "unlawful" use of his farm. It also wants to enforce another court order, made in 2000, that forbids him from emitting "odour nuisance" from his land.

David Ellis, head of environment and planning at the council, said environmental health officers had witnessed "nuisance strength odours" from the rendering process this year and received many complaints from the public.

He added the council is now in a position to provide "sufficient evidence" to suggest that Mr Clarke has failed to comply with the order.

Mid Suffolk first applied for an injunction in March 1999, when Mr Clarke promised not to cause public nuisance after May 31, 2000.

This was accepted by the court to give time for new working methods to bed in. During the hearing, it was made clear residents were entitled to live their lives "nuisance free".

Last year, the council refused planning permission to formally change the use of the former swill cooking plant to a rendering use.

An appeal against this decision was dismissed in April 2003 by the Planning Inspectorate.

Mr Clarke then made moves to get a "certificate of lawful use" for his business, but this also failed, in October this year.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter