Councillors object to farm re-development in Plaistow

HOR 191009 Crouchlands farm, Kirdford. Gwyn Jones. anaerobic digester. -photo by steve cobb
HOR 191009 Crouchlands farm, Kirdford. Gwyn Jones. anaerobic digester. -photo by steve cobb

A PARISH council has objected to plans to redevelop a farm saying it would cause ‘inappropriate industrialisation of rural West Sussex’.

Villagers packed into Winterton Hall in Plaistow where Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council was discussing a planning application submitted by Crouchlands Biogos Ltd.

Permission already exists for the company to use manure from cattle on Crouchlands Farm in Plaistow to produce energy to run the farm through a process called anaerobic digestion.

The company has now submitted a retrospective application to West Sussex County Council to convert the site into expand that to supply up to 8,000 homes.

On August 13 Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council joined Kirdford, Loxwood and Ebernoe Parish Councils in objecting to the plans.

Chairman of Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council Sara Burrell said members supported the existing operation, but not the proposed upgrade.

She said: “The parish council strongly objects to this inappropriate industrialisation of rural West Sussex.

“The site is completely inappropriate for such a development and the local rural road infrastructure is completely unsuitable and unsafe for the proposed HGV movements.”

She added it should be refused ‘to protect this fragile and unspoilt rural environment’.

Crouchland Biogas managing director Leon Mekitarian said: “We know that vehicle movements are a concern for the local community.

“This is why our vehicles are restricted to routes designed to avoid local villages wherever possible.

“Our anaerobic digester produces enough clean, green biogas to fuel up to 8,000 homes, which is exported by just three vehicles per day.

“The digester uses crops sourced entirely from our own farm and local land and is vital for helping our long-standing dairy farm to support 25 local jobs.

“We believe our application will enable Crouchland Farm to remain in business, at a time when many dairy farms are struggling.

“We will continue to listen to the community for the long benefit of those that live and work in it.”

Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council and Kirdford Parish Council previously wrote to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, seeking action over the re-development at Crouchland Farm.