Breckland pig farm plans to relocate 700m from its post-war home

PUBLISHED: 13:44 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:44 16 August 2019

A Breckland pig farm has submitted plans to relocate 700m away from its current base in Sporle, near Swaffham. Picture: Denise Bradley

A Breckland pig farm has submitted plans to relocate 700m away from its current base in Sporle, near Swaffham. Picture: Denise Bradley


A pig farm with 70 years of history in a Norfolk village is planning to move 700m to modernise its facilities further away from houses as the community expands.

The Essex Farm Piggery has submitted proposals to move the short distance from its current base on the southern edge of Sporle, near Swaffham, to a new site in open countryside to the south-east, on land north of the A47 and east of The Street.

The farm was first established by the Palmer family after the Second World War and is now operated by the Essex Farm Partnership, with up to 1,950 pigs on site at any one time.

A planning statement submitted to Breckland Council says when the pig enterprise was set up in the 1940s there were only two domestic properties nearby, but new estates built from the 1960s onwards brought housing closer to the livestock operation.

"In essence there has been significant but gradual creep of the village southwards during the 20th century and this has continued with the residential development to the east of the site," it says. "This has resulted in residential properties becoming increasingly closer to the operating pig farm.

"This will continue with the applicants' land adjoining the pig farm being allocated for housing development in the new local plan.

"The pig farming enterprise and the buildings are therefore well established and having been built during the 1960s and 1970s are now some 40 to 50 years old.

"The business requires new and improved facilities to meet modern husbandry and legislative requirements; make more efficient use of modern technologies and ensure the business remains competitive."

The proposals include two new pig buildings, each housing up to 1,000 pigs, with no changes to the techniques currently being used to finish animals from 7kgs up to about 100kgs before transporting them off site. The pigs would be reared in pens using a straw-based system to minimise muck.

If approved, the new development would also include an office, workshop, two storage buildings for straw and farm vehicles, the creation of an access track, parking and associated tree planting, landscaping and attenuation ponds.

The firm says demolition of some of the existing site would take place simultaneously with the planned move to enable the relocation of four of the existing buildings to the new site.

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