RESIDENTS are calling on Eric Pickles to help them fight a development at a dairy farm.
Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council and Kirdford Parish Council have written to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, seeking action over a re-development at Crouchland Farm, in Plaistow.
Crouchland Biogas Limited is looking to convert the site to a gas and electricity generating plant.
District councillor Josef Ransley said: “I’m always concerned when individuals or companies seek to carry out development without the required planning consent.
“The recent activity at Crouchlands has been unlawful and has been causing concern to many residents and their rural environment.
“I’m pleased that following work of parish councils, both Chichester District and West Sussex County Planning Authorities served contravention and enforcement notices requiring the illegal commercial activity to cease. I will work with all the parties to ensure any future activity at Crouchlands is appropriate and lawful.”
Resident Paul Jordan said: “We were supportive of the original anaerobic digester at the farm.
“But now the dairy farm has all but gone, replaced by thousands of tonnes of waste being transported daily in huge HGV tankers, which are completely unsuitable for the rural lanes around Plaistow.”
A spokesman for Crouchland Farm said: “The anaerobic digestion plant at Crouchland Farm has been operating since 2009. It was one of the first plants of its kind in the UK and generates electricity sufficient to power more than 2,000 homes.
Recent plans to convert the plant from electricity export to biomethane generation, capturing and compressing the biogas for export into the national gas network for use in homes, is a 250 per cent more efficient use of the gas energy already produced and is driven by national energy policy.
Biomethane generated by the plant will provide energy to heat more than 7,000 homes all year round.
“We have been in discussions with the various authorities for over 18 months and a detailed planning application is now in process with West Sussex County Council, and all stakeholders will have an opportunity to comment,” said the spokesman.
“Our businesses employ 26 full-time staff, a significant contributor to the local rural economy. Many live and work on the farm.”