Controversial abattoir plan thrown out

By Mark Douglas COUNCILLORS have thrown out plans for a controversial abattoir and meat processing plant near Boroughbridge.

At a heated planning meeting last Thursday councillors voted by nine to five to throw out P Hutton and Son Limited's planning application, first made two years ago, which would have seen a 250,000 ft abattoir built at Rougham Farm near Arkendale.

Harrogate Council chamber was packed for the two-and-a-half hour debate, and tensions rose high as interested parties debated the plans. On two occasions protesters were threatened with eviction as they cheered and applauded councillors and objectors speaking against the plans.

Councillor Nick Wilson of Marton-cum-Grafton Parish Council set out the Parish Council's objections, claiming the company was attempting to replace a small abattoir with an industrial slaughterhouse, whose size would make it one of the biggest 10 per cent in the country.

He was joined by environment specialist Dr Anthony Long, who argued that the waste from the abattoir would jeopardise 12,000-year-old Marton Carr wetland, one of the rarest wetland nature sites in the country.

And Coun Chris Brown also warned that granting permission for the scheme would set a precedent for industrial development along the A168.

However there was some support for the application.

Knaresborough councillors Bill Hoult and John Smith argued that the size of the plan was necessary to pass animal welfare and health guidelines.

And Councillor Geoff Webber raised concerns that officers had not given the proposers any alternatives to the proposed site.

Earlier in the day, nearly 100 protesters convened at the proposed site to stage a peaceful protest against the plans.

Council officers had already recommended the plan for refusal, saying the size of the plan represented a large scale industrial complex.

If the plans had been passed, the Knaresborough butchers' planned to build a abattoir and meat processing plant with an animal shed, slaughter hall, chiller storage, meat processing and packing facilities, lairage, vehicle washing and garaging facilities and emergency kill facilities.

The company have refused to say whether they plan to appeal the decision.