Plans for a “contentious” new abattoir set to get the go-ahead

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A NEW abattoir is set to be built in Halifax despite objections from residents who fear “terrible smells” and the “distressing cries of sheep” about to breathe their last.

J&E Medcalfe Ltd want to build the abbatoir on land off Stainland Road on Burrwood Way.

Sixty-one letters of support have been received for the application and 10 letters of objection.

Those opposed say another abbatoir is not needed in the area and worry over its closeness to nearby homes.

One resident said: “Experience terrible smells from the existing abattoir and can hear the distressing cries of the sheep” while another resident says there is the “risk of unpleasant smells and animal by-products leaking onto the road.”

Fears are also expressed “about the adverse effect on the calm demeanour of the Jersey cows” while others fear that Bradley Mill Farm could be open “to a potential bio-security risk and risk of airborne viral disease transmission or contamination from secretion spillage”.

Questions are also raised about the capacity of Holywell Green - a largely rura area with a number of narrow roads - “to take large wagons and more traffic movements.”

But supporters say “the business operating from Jagger Green is thoughtful (sic) of the environment and the villagers - fully support the move to the new premises to help them improve their business” and “Medcalfs have been at Jagger Green for years and have never caused any trouble, so if they move you know they will be OK.”

Another resident said: “A purpose-built site on an industrial estate will enable easier access and should allow the business to grow which will support the local economy in employment opportunities.”

The application has been brought before Calderdale’s Planning Committee for consideration after Greenland and Stainland ward councillor Keith Watson objected to the proposal which he says is “very contentious”.

Coun Watson’s concerns revolve around environmental issues, road safety including parking and the claim that “there have already been 20 years of problems with a similar development.”

A Planning Statement says that: “Importantly the proposed abbatoir will provide improved animal welfare facilities and act as an important local/regional facility for farmers with injured animals.

“The support within the industry for this new facility is extensive with many farmers, veterinary surgeons and colleges keen to see the abattoir is clear that the proposal will continue to provide an essential service to a great many farms in Yorkshire/Lancashire.”

Regarding any perceived bio-security risks Calderdale’s animal welfare officer says:

“There are already two slaughterhouses on the industrial estate, one of which is a poultry slaughterhouse and the other is currently slaughtering sheep, goats and calves.

“Both slaughterhouses move livestock in to and remove waste from the premises via the highways.

“The proposed slaughterhouse would use the same highways as these existing slaughterhouses, to both bring livestock onto the premises and the removal of the waste products.”

As to the potential impact on “the calm demeanour of grazing cows” he says “it is correct that livestock are distressed at the sight and sounds of other animals being slaughtered, but it must be remembered that the livestock are to be slaughtered in a confined area.

“Even the other livestock within the facility will not have sight of the slaughtering process.”

Head of planning, Geoff Willerton, said the proposal should be permitted but it will be for the committee to decide whether the green light is given at its meeting on Tuesday at Halifax town hall.