A rural Norfolk village has become an unlikely battleground for a war between a vegetarian food giant and a meat farming behemoth. 

The boss of Quorn has attacked Cranswick's controversial plans to create two mega-farms rearing millions of chickens and thousands of pigs a year next to its Norfolk site in Methwold.

The CEO of the company, Marco Bertacca, has written a scathing objection letter to West Norfolk Council raising fears the industrial-scale farms would put its "business at risk".

Eastern Daily Press: Marco Bertacca, CEO of Quorn FoodsMarco Bertacca, CEO of Quorn Foods (Image: Quorn Foods)

READ MORE: Plans for 'mega farm' between two villages provoke growing row

Cranswick did not respond directly to Quorn's objection but it has previously said the farms will be "sustainable and modern" which will help to deliver affordable food while creating new jobs and boosting the local economy.

It is the latest development in an ongoing saga which has seen tens of thousands of people object to the plans, with animal welfare group PETA also getting involved.

The long list of Quorn's concerns includes the impact of smells and flies coming from the farm affecting the wellbeing of its 300 staff and the threat it could pose to its food safety standards.

Mr Bertacca said: "I have deep concerns about the impact the proposed development will have on our people and on our ability to continue to operate at our Methwold site.

"Approval of these developments will have a negative impact on Quorn Foods and our ability to continue to operate.

"We hope West Norfolk Council will reject these applications in their entirety."

Eastern Daily Press: A look inside the Quorn production facility in MethwoldA look inside the Quorn production facility in Methwold (Image: Quorn Foods)

Opposition has been growing among those living in the villages of Methwold and Feltwell and a local campaign group has been rallying people to object to the farms.

Under the plans, lodged with West Norfolk Council, 20 sheds will house 870,000 chickens, with 14 buildings for 14,000 pigs on land that was previously an RAF base.

Eastern Daily Press: Cranswick hopes to knock down the disused sheds and build 14 pig 'finishing' buildings at the siteCranswick hopes to knock down the disused sheds and build 14 pig 'finishing' buildings at the site (Image: Owen Sennitt)

People are concerned the two farms could have a detrimental impact on the environment, create a huge increase of traffic on rural roads and may also lead to flies and vermin being attracted to the villages.

READ MORE: Claims stench coming from pig farm leaving villagers under "house arrest"

A spokeswoman for the Cranswick Objection Group said: "It is brilliant to have this support and that they share our concerns.

"Yes, this is a rural area and farming is part of country life but these farms are on another scale and will have a big impact on people's lives in the area."

Eastern Daily Press: Denise Charlesworth (L) and Shirley De'Ath have launched a campaign group against the plansDenise Charlesworth (L) and Shirley De'Ath have launched a campaign group against the plans (Image: Owen Sennitt)

The plans have also drawn criticism from a number of animal welfare groups, including the UK branch of PETA, whose petition against the farms has gained more than 26,000 signatures.

And it has also started a wider debate amongst West Norfolk councillors over whether such facilities contradict the district's efforts to cut carbon emissions and reach ‘net zero’ targets.

A decision was due in the coming months but it has recently been pushed back.

A spokesman for the authority said the decision has been delayed as it is waiting for "further environmental information" which it expects to receive before the end of the year. 

Eastern Daily Press: Quorn's crispy nuggets are one of its more popular productsQuorn's crispy nuggets are one of its more popular products (Image: Quorn Foods)


Quorn uses fungus to create its 'mycoprotein' which is then used in its meat-free products.

Although part of its range does use egg whites to bind the mycoprotein.

The site in Methwold is one of only three manufacturing sites in the UK and has been running for 25 years, employing about 300 staff.

It has its headquarters in Stokesley, North Yorkshire and it has recently expanded to a large facility in Billingham, north of Middlesborough.

Eastern Daily Press: The Quorn Foods site in MethwoldThe Quorn Foods site in Methwold (Image: Google)

Development of the 'revolutionary' food began in 1985 and was later launched in the UK in 1993.

In recent years the company has had a boom in business due to the higher demand for meat-free products and it is predicted to become a billion-dollar business by 2027.

The roots of the business can be traced back to an early-20th-century food company that took its name from the village of Quorn in Leicestershire, according to a local historian from the area.

This was later absorbed into parent company Marlow Foods.