Thursday, 19 November 2015

Report on Strategic Planning Committee; pig farm and biogas plant at Higher Fraddon

I have just got back from New County Hall, Truro, following the Strategic Planning Committee meeting, which considered the retrospective application for the redevelopment of the pig farm at Higher Fraddon as well as the two applications relating to the biogas plant and its traffic movements.

The debate took about four-and-a-half hours, and I was really impressed with the thorough scrutiny given to the applications by the members of the Committee.

Local people speaking at the meeting included Mel Morcom, Helen Martin, Sam Williams, Bella MaCarthy, Anne Woolcock and Joszef Varga. All did extremely well. Michael Hopkins meanwhile spoke on behalf of the Parish Council, while Dan Johns was also there for the pig farm.

So what happened …

The first application relating to the pig farm was passed. Councillors voted – in principle – by 14 votes to four to consent the redevelopment of the pig farm with additional and stronger conditions. The planning officers were given delegated authority to finalise the conditions – in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the Committee, plus me. However, it was also agreed that if I was not happy with the conditions, I could refer the application back to the Committee.

The members of the Committee did listen to local residents and agreed that conditions should ensure bio-filter (or equivalent) odour treatment should be inserted into all the livestock buildings. It was also agreed that the construction of the two new buildings they wanted could not commence until all existing buildings had been retrofitted with odour control.

Members also felt that the large livestock lorry, which had caused all manner of problems, should no longer go the farm and instead be replaced by a couple of smaller lorries. Dan had told me prior to the meeting that he was already investigating this and it should happen.

It was a different story with the biogas plant. Members of the Planning Committee seemed to universally share the concerns of local residents about how the plant had developed through the non-material amendments, the impact of the traffic, etc. Many were extremely angry at what had transpired, with a number speaking about the public meeting a few weeks back and their own visits to the lane.

The biogas applications were deferred so that the Council could make the case for an access off the A30 with Highways England, with the MP and other interested parties. No members spoke in favour of the applications and a number spoke strongly about refusing the application.

If no agreement can be reached with regard to the A30, it was clear that the councillors will look to refuse the application when it is brought back to the Committee. I have to say that I cannot remember a meeting when councillors were so united against a proposal.

I spoke to Ann Double, who was at the meeting on behalf of her husband Steve Double MP, and she has already confirmed she will be helping to chase up about the Highways England meeting tomorrow.

I will continue to keep everyone about progress from this point.

1 comment:

David Weston said...

Well done Dick and also to Anne ... and has been said on FBook .... yes a sensible outcome... BUT what REALLY stinks (Sorry) is the amount of development that OUR planning department seems to have had absolutely no control over with the biogas plant ...I mean WHY has there been allowed to travel up such a small lane with 44 Tonne Artics...This really is totally mad !!! ... This whole set up SHOULD have been placed on the factory estate near to the Newquay Junction of the A30 and the slurry from the farm should have been piped from there to it along the border of the main road ...That way all would be pretty good...Keep up the good work though Dick well done...