Church Lawford residents win their battle to stop pig fattening shed being built on village outskirts

The decision was made at a planning meeting earlier this week

Friday, 25th June 2021, 12:57 pm
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 12:58 pm
An illustration of the proposed building.

Villagers have won their battle to stop a pig fattening shed being sited within 200 metres of houses and next to a public footpath.

Plans for the building, on green belt land on the outskirts of Church Lawford, were thrown out at this week’s (June 23) planning meeting of Rugby Borough Council even though planning officers had recommended approval.

The extent of opposition to the scheme was outlined by Cllr Jeremy James, chairman of Church Lawford Parish Council, who spoke at the meeting.

He said: “When these plans were proposed, the strength of feeling was such that we called a public meeting to allow the applicant to present the plans to residents.

"More than 70 attended, our village hall was full to overflowing. Residents were overwhelmingly against the application at that time and continue to be so.

“The most distress about this proposal is caused by its effect on the landscape. The planting will take years to reach maturity and will not satisfactorily hide the pig unit. The building will look like what it is - a modern factory or warehouse.”

Cllr James said noise from the 1,990 pigs would be heard from nearby footpaths and part of the village and added: “Church Lawford objects strongly to this application. It will cause us significant loss of social amenity, road safety and most of all an attractive and treasured landscape.”

Planning officer Nigel Reeves outlined measures taken by the applicant including amending access to the site for lorries travelling along the A428 Coventry Road.

And planning agent Ian Pick, on behalf of the applicant, added that agricultural buildings were an appropriate development in a green belt location.

He said: “There is a lot of fear of the unknown with this application and I can assure the residents that the concerns will not materialise. The applicant, working with the council, has commissioned a plethora of technical assessments to address the issues raised - odour, ammonia, noise, landscape, ecology and highways reports all prepared by professionals.”

A number of councillors spoke against the plans, particularly traffic concerns with lorries only able to leave the site in one direction due to height restrictions under a nearby railway bridge.

Cllr Peter Eccleson (Con, Dunsmore) said: I’m very surprised that highways haven’t had any objections - that section of road is a fast piece of road, it is a dangerous piece of road and the HGV traffic will be coming out and turning across a lane of traffic to avoid the low bridge.

Cllr Barbara Brown (Lab, New Bilton) also supported the villages, more than 80 of whom sent letters of objection. She said: “Given there is no economic value for the locality in this, they are being asked to sacrifice a lot for nothing.

Cllr Craig McQueen (Lib Dem, Eastlands) warned: “I think there is a real fear of refusing this application just because of the fear of the unknown. This is modern farming and we all enjoy the benefits in our lives. I struggle to understand the argument for rejecting the proposal given the evidence we have had put in front of this committee.”

The application was refused by eight votes to three.