Render plant plan faces legal challenge

Campaigners opposed to the building of a rendering plant in the Norfolk countryside said they were considering legal action after planners failed to back enforcement action to stop “unauthorised” building work.

Campaigners opposed to the building of a rendering plant in the Norfolk countryside said they were considering legal action after planners failed to back enforcement action to stop “unauthorised” building work.

Planners at Norfolk County Council put off a decision to give the green light to an application from Banham Poultry to build a plant at Clay Hill Farm on the edge of Great Witchingham and opted for a site visit on May 15.

The plant, which lies in the Wensum Valley, close to the Marriott's Way path will process 1,500 tonnes of fallen stock - such as animals that die through illness or have to be destroyed - animal waste and inedible meat each week.

A council report said that work started on the site last October while a planning contravention notice was served by Broadland district council on November 17.

The firm insists that it had obtained planning permission in 2003 for the project and no unauthorised work was taking place.

But in February county council monitoring officers and control staff established the works were not covered by existing planning agreements and “works on the site not in accordance with the permitted scheme were unauthorised”.

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Despite widespread local opposition to the plans, the authority said it could not to take enforcement action because the firm had submitted a planning application on February 14, which was unlikely to be refused.

After the meeting John Martin, who lives close to the site, said residents were talking to lawyers about the legality of county's stance.

“There's absolutely no reason in law why they should not take enforcement action and stop it,” he said.