Send your comments to Chichester District Council regarding the 'Mega-dairy'

Please take a look at the many objections already submitted against the new 'Dairy' planning application at Crouchland Farm. Many of these early objections raise the issue of animal welfare. We are wondering if Sainsburys condone this intensive farming, preventing cows from walking outdoors or grazing grass.

Animal welfare is very important but is not a decisive planning issue. The questions that you may like to think about before you write your letters are given below.

Planning application number; 16/02841/FUL;

Date that comments must be received; 17th October

Description; ‘Proposed demolition of existing farm building and construction of a dairy unit with associated infrastructure, access and replacement of workers accommodation’. Crouchlands Farm Rickmans Lane Plaistow Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 0LE

Address to write to; (using your own words)

Andrew Frost, Head of Planning Services, Chichester District Council, East Pallant House, 1 East Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1TY.

If you prefer to send your comments via the internet, please login and make your comment here;

https://publicaccess.chichester.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OCI8XOERJSB00

Read the other objections already submitted online.

Please call ‘PORE’ on 01403 871472 should you wish to talk to someone about this. 

  • Size. The new building is a 152m x 79m x 10.5m high industrial type shed. By way of a comparison, the new Easyjet aircraft hangar at Gatwick is 5,490m2 and is less than half the size of the proposed dairy building alone. The proposal would increase the footprint of the farm development as a whole by 250%. The scale and mass of the proposed structure is enormous and completely out of character with the surroundings. The size is such that it would have a major impact on the landscape and rural character of the area 

  • Impact on Historic Environment. It would dwarf the immediately adjacent Grade 2 Listed Crouchland House (and other Grade 2 Listed buildings) – with impacts including setting, views, noise, odour, access

     Increase in HGV/vehicle movements by at least 55% on local lanes. Feed and bedding will need to be brought in for the 1300 cows, which will not have any access to fields. More digestate will be produced from the substantial slurry which will be put in the AD plant, so more HGVs exporting digestate. Many farm vehicles shunting feed, manure, silage etc across both sites. Remember that the access lanes have been deemed unsuitable for any increase in HGV movement – and would present a ‘detriment to highway safety’

  •  Increase in noise and odour. With 750 cows replacing the current 300 in the existing dairy – plus and extra 550 in the new dairy building, there would increase in all activities thereby raising noise and odour issues. All farmyard muck will have to be continually transported from the new site to the digesters 24 hours a day.

  •  Environmental Impact; 7 acres of pasture field would be concreted over for this development. The field has Ancient Woodland along the east and south sides. Badgers live in the adjacent woodlands. Barn Owls forage over the field and roost within 100 metres. Great Crested Newts are common in the ponds within 1 km of the site. The Barbastelle Bat and the Bechstein’s Bat (both Annex II Species and therefore European Protected Species) have been recorded within 1 km of the site, but no Bat Survey has been conducted.

  •  Financial viability. The Council must satisfy themselves that the huge investment of £3-5 million to reverse the fortunes of a loss-making dairy will not leave us with a redundant building which could then be put to alternative, unwelcome use.

  •  B1 Use. We believe that this development should be for a purely ‘Agricultural use’. However this application seeks to include ‘B1 use’ which is defined as; 

  • Use for all or any of the following purposes—  (a) as an office other than a use within class A2 (financial and professional services),  (b) for research and development of products or processes, or  (c) for any industrial process,

    being a use which can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area by reason of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, soot, ash, dust or grit

     Consideration of waste disposal. This proposal will generate a substantial amount of cow waste which they propose to dispose into the digesters (half of this digester capacity is subject to appeal in June 2017) and into lagoon 4 (also subject to appeal at the same time). What provision do they have should their appeal fail? Should a decision on this application be refused on the basis that they do not have a secure waste disposal plan in this Nitrate Vulnerable Zone. On top of this, the extra digestate will be stored in the enormous lagoon 3 which is also subject to appeal in June 2017. Where will digestate be stored should the appeal fail?

  •  Site location would be better within the existing farmyard. If the appeal for the AD plant is refused in 2017, then this would free up space on the existing site following the removal of the unlawfully developed areas (which include digester 3, lagoon 4, separator, flare, PURAC gas cleaning system, upload stanchions etc). The existing dairy (built to milk and adequately store milk from 700 cows) plus the area released by the removal of the unauthorized structures would provide space to build the new/extended dairy facilities. This would eliminate the loss of open countryside and any requirement to build on a green field site.

  •  No need for new on-site accommodation. The current accommodation at Hardnips Barn and cottages at the entrance are sufficient, especially in view of the technological advances with ‘Alert’ systems from the dairy building. Dairy workers could assemble within minutes, should there be a problem.

  •  Contrary to many policies within the Chichester Local Plan.  To view the policies, see weblink; http://www.chichester.gov.uk/newlocalplan