Residents launch petition to oppose plans for pig farm near Grandborough

Residents opposed to the plans.
Residents opposed to the plans.
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A Grandborough campaign group has gathered 6,218 signatures from across the world for a petition opposing plans for a 2,500 capacity pig farm near the village.

Residents set up a petition and a group, People in Grandborough say No Pigs, to oppose the plans, which would see the building of two barns to house up to 1,125 pigs each, a slurry store and feed bins on land off Broadwell Road.

The plans were subject to a consultation which ended on October 18, with the application expected to come before the council’s planning committee in January.

Campaigners argue the application doesn’t say how it will meet animal welfare regulations and that it could adversely affect neighbouring businesses including rare breed farms, smallholdings, caravan and camping sites and riding stables.

Compassion in World Farming, a farm animal welfare charity, wrote to Rugby planning officer Joanne Orton in June to express concern over the plans.

It stated the documents provided in support of the application did not mention manipulable material (such as hay or straw) which it said is vital to the wellbeing of pigs and falls under a European Commission Council Directive on the minimum standard for the protection of pigs.

The charity then said the application refers to a perforated floor, which it said would make it difficult for the proposer to provide manipulable material as it could clog drainage gaps.

George Steriopulos of Grandborough Fields Farm said: "As someone who has been involved in agriculture and the marketing of its products most of my working life I am very concerned as to the lack of detailed attention given to developments on agricultural land.

"Most of these applications are straightforward and have good intentions, others don't.

"At present and much to my surprise, I am witnessing and objecting to a planning application next door to me. When moving here six years ago I never thought I would see this happen in this era of high quality food production and welfare standards.

"These pigs will be raised on slats, no straw bedding and with artificial light - no fresh air and pig arcs here."

MP Jeremy Wright also wrote to Joanne Orton in June to voice concern.

He stated he had received a lot of correspondence from residents in the immediate vicinity of the site – with their chief concerns being the potential for increased traffic, flooding and subsequent pollution of the area (which he says is a drinking water safeguard zone) and the impact the farm may have on the adjacent riding school.

Sue Ward, owner of Woodbine Riding Stables, previously said her business could be threatened as the horses would be spooked by the pigs.

Mr Wright described the stables as an “invaluable facility for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties” in the local community.

The flood risk and drainage assessment supporting the application states “the flood risk to the site is reasonable and acceptable”. It also states the development site does not lie within a groundwater source protection zone.

In June the proposer, John Evans, told the Advertiser the pig farm would help save his business by diversifying it and the farm would not unacceptably impact on residents as the pigs would not be outside.

When recently reached by the Advertiser Mr Evans, who owns Grange Farm, declined to comment.

Visit here and search for reference R17/0937 to view the application.

The petition can be accessed by clicking here.