Plans to expand a Suffolk broiler unit to house more than 200,000 birds have been refused, prompting manager Alan Croft to brand East Anglia “closed for business” to expanding companies.


Mid Suffolk Poultry wanted to expand its 80,000 bird Ebdens Farm broiler unit at Pixey’s Green, near Stradbroke to meet a growing demand for production sites complying with modern environmental standards, including new RSPCA guidelines for stocking density, which have cut the capacity of each shed by about a quarter.

The farm produces broilers for Hook2Sisters, supporting employment at Flixton and Haughley Park, where 800 staff are employed. The plans proposed to expand from the two existing buildings, erected on the 3.6ha site in 2004, to six.

Measures to reduce its impact included landscaping with trees and a bund; erecting lower, narrower buildings; using a transport plan; and constructing two proposed HGV passing places.

“We were very disappointed with the outcome,” commented Mr Croft. “We have done a lot of work on this and we were shocked. A sugar beet farm could have just as many lorries coming and going during a harvest. Are farmers going to have to apply for planning permission in future to plant a field of sugar beet?”

The proposed houses were to measure 91.5 x 23.1m with eave and ridge heights of 2.4m and 5.5m respectively, and 3 x 10t feed bins for each pair of houses.

Mid Suffolk District Council rejected the application after a highways manager warned of an “unacceptable” increase of traffic which would “lead to road safety dangers”. The expansion would have brought 60 more lorry movements during regular two-week peak periods. The application also failed to meet Section 106 Planning Obligation requirements, it said.

Residents of nearby Fressingfield and Stradbroke, who had objected to the application, welcomed the decision. Mid Suffolk Poultry is considering an appeal.

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