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Knacker's yard opposition grows

The plans, submitted by J. Passey and Son, seek to move the knackers yard, used for the storage of horse carcases, from its current location, next to the scrap yard on the Turnpike Industrial estate in Newbury, to the vacant Wessex Saw Mill site in Great Shefford.
Planning agent for the company, Christopher Strang Associates said the intention was to relocate the yard in advance of any possible housing development on the Turnpike estate.
The yard plans to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to transport dead animals from surrounding farms, either by lorry or two pick-up trucks and trailers. The animals will be stored in a container within the warehouse and once it is full, a tractor will remove it for incineration.
The letter states there will be no animal processing of any sort taking place on the site and said the location was ideal to serve surrounding farms and because it was away from residential areas.
But concerns were raised from charities, residents and businesses at an extra ordinary meeting of Chaddleworth Parish Council, called by chairman Grahame Murphy last Monday.
Mr Murphy, said he was concerned with a couple of points on the planning application, particularly the flood risk assessment, which he said was “inaccurate” as roads and fields near the site had flooded recently.
There were fears that water would be contaminated if the site flooded and the effect this would have on livestock as local farmers use boreholes to water their animals.
This concern was supported by National Animal Welfare Trust Centre Manager, Alison Pearce who added that although the service, which the centre had used before, needed to exist, the site at the saw mill close to the centre at Trindledown Farm was the not the right one.
Mrs Pearce said: “I do not think having a knackers yard near us will be a good idea as people bring their animals to us for retirement will not be happy.
“It will kill us as a charity.”
Another charity with concerns for the knackers yard is Homing Ex-racehorses Organisation Scheme (HEROS) based in Wantage.
Chief Executive, Grace Muir, said: “I do not think it is a great idea to have it near to a racing area.”
Oliver Cole, the son of champion trainer, Paul Cole, based at the Whatcombe estate in Wantage, said: “If it [the site] was to get flooded and the horses were diseased we could lose a lot of races if the horses were affected.”
And he explained that the stables had been in discussions with horse racing syndicate manager Henry Ponsonby, over the impact of the knackers yard moving to the area and that it would have a detrimental impact on the stable’s and could lead to the loss of up to 20 jobs.
Further concerns have been made by Mrs Egerton, who owns land and properties neighbouring the saw mill. Although not objecting to the proposal at this stage, she said there were concerns about the smell produced from dead animals as well as the possibility of water pollution along with fears that if the knackers yard is established, there would be a natural progression for the business to begin processing or incinerating on the site.
Parish councillors objected the proposal due to the impact of flooding, water contamination and the potential impact of airborne diseases and asked that a full ecological impact survey be carried out. Objections were also raised about the impact on local farms, charities and businesses and the risk of the site being further developed.
J. Passey and Son refused to comment when contacted by The Newbury Weekly News but the application will be discussed at a Great Shefford Parish Council meeting on March 7 at the Great Shefford village hall at 7:40pm.

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