Plans for £40m feed mill in Norfolk village narrowly approved

Chickens at a farm at Great Ellingham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Breckland Council's planning committee narrowly approved plans for a new feed mill at Snetterton - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Plans to build a £40m feed mill have been narrowly approved - despite fears surrounding safety, traffic levels and light pollution. 

2Agriculture had applied to build the 40m-high milling tower, along with grain silos and office buildings, on a site off Chalk Lane in Snetterton. 

A new site would signal the closure of the company's existing base in Stoke Ferry, allowing it to expand and create 24 new jobs in the process. 

2Agriculture plans to replace its 60-year-old feed mill in Stoke Ferry

2Agriculture's existing base in Stoke Ferry - Credit: Sarah Hussain

And, during a meeting of Breckland Council's planning committee on Monday (July 5), the proposal was passed by a margin of six votes to five.

The feed manufacturer had argued earlier this year that a modern facility was urgently needed to sustain poultry farms, a key part of East Anglia's agricultural economy.

There were, however, concerns over resulting noise, odour and light pollution.

But the primary worry for villagers was the increase in traffic and its potential impact on safety.

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council's planning committee narrowly approved plans for a new feed mill at Snetterton - Credit: IAN BURT

Speaking prior to the final decision, Jacqueline Romero of Snetterton Parish Council, urged the committee to "restore our community's faith in the democratic process".

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She said: "I am here to represent the 70-plus objections made to this planning application.

"There is huge anxiety amongst our community about the impact this massive industrial application will have on the single lane that runs through the north and south of our village.

"The lane is used by families walking, cyclists and horse riders. 

"The increase in traffic will make using Chalk Lane more dangerous as there are no passing points or pavements. Please can the committee consider ways to plan for the increased traffic?"

Ms Romero went on to highlight the visual impact of the huge mill on the area's rural environment, while Philip Cowen - Breckland councillor for the area - also urged committee members to reject the proposal. 

But, citing economic benefits to the industry and the creation of employment, planning officers recommended the scheme for approval - and the committee duly agreed. 

2Agriculture must produce a vehicle management plan in which employees and contractors are encouraged to use approved routes away from Snetterton village. 

If more than 10pc of vehicles do not use the approved route within a period of six months, an action plan must be submitted to the council.

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