Meat plant work continues

Protestors lined the gates of a controversial new rendering plant yesterday as planners went on a site visit.

Protestors lined the gates of a controversial new rendering plant yesterday as planners went on a site visit.

Attleborough-based Banham Compost wants to build the plant, processing 1,500 tonnes of fallen stock and inedible meat each week, at Clay Hall Farm on the outskirts of Great Witchingham, near Norwich.

Protesters living nearby fear it would have a damaging impact on the Wensum Valley and have accused the company of starting work on a two-unit plant without planning permission.

But Banham insists the work going on while the planning application is going through is on a single-unit plant approved by Broadland District Council in 2003.

Dot Cushing, from Lenwade, one of about 12 protestors at the gates yesterday, said she was worried about how close homes would be to the rendering plant, the type of waste being produced and problems with transportation.

She said she thought problems with the rendering plant could affect the whole of Norfolk, adding "If there is a spillage and it seeps into Blackwater River, it will go all the way through to Norwich."

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During the meeting Bob Waterson, project manager for Banham, said "We are not doing anything different to what was approved in 2003. The development is exactly the same but it has been split in two."

He added that the raw material would come from North Suffolk and Norfolk.

But John Willmore, from Great Witchingham, who has worked in the poultry business for years, said he could not understand how the com-pany would find 1,500 tonnes to process just from North Suffolk and Norfolk.

Many expressed fears that Banham would want to process more than 1,500 tonnes to which Barry Richardson, Banham's finance director, said they had no interested in doing.

Simon Woodbridge, leader of Broadland District Council, asked Banham to give reassurance that no odours or pollution would escape from the new plant "at all costs".

Mr Waterson said there would be airtight doors, thermal oxidisers and an external biofilter to prevent this and Mr Richardson described it as a "failsafe option".

David Sayer, owner of the nearby Blackwater Equestrian Competition Centre, said: "This has the potential to pollute with odour and pollute the rivers."

It is hoped the application will be discussed at Norfolk County Council's Planning (Regulatory) Committee on Friday, July 13, provided some extra information is given by the applicants.

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