HOMEOWNERS living downwind of a planned animal rendering plant are selling up amid fears it will get the go-ahead.

Seven homes have been put for sale on a small stretch of road in Comberbach weeks before borough planning chiefs are due to meet to review the proposals - with some citing concerns over the development in neighbouring Antrobus.

The move would see the existing by-products processing facility at Senna Green Farm, Antrobus, and a new £5.7m, purpose-built factory opened at Harrison's Poultry Farm at Antrobus instead.

Scores of protesters lobbied against the proposals when they came before Vale Royal Borough Council planning committee in January. Members, who were expected to approve the scheme, delayed a decision for more consultation.

Norma Clarke, chairwoman of Comberbach Parish Council, said: 'We have seven properties up for sale in a short stretch from to the top of Gibb Hill to the Drum and Monkey pub alone.

'Most have gone on the market since January when the publicity and the heightened profile of the planning applications raised public awareness. This stretch of road in Comberbach is nearest to the proposed site for the rendering plant.

'I know there are more people in Comberbach who haven't yet made the decision to move house but are thinking about moving before it's too late, people who have lived in the village many years and had expected to live out their retirement here but are now considering selling up to protect their investment.

'It's unthinkable that one business proposal could be allowed to adversely affect the lives of more than 1,000 people in Comberbach alone. But that's the fight that's been brought to our door.'

Councillors received more than 400 letters against the application.

They were told residents had concerns over whether the A559 and surrounding country lanes would be able to cope with traffic, fears over odours and pollution and the impact of the development on the Green Belt.

Some 200-plus letters in favour were also received, with Harrison's Poultry saying the facility would create and keep local jobs, support a well-established family business and help solve the noise and odour problems at Senna Green Farm, which would then be converted into housing.

But Cllr Clarke said: 'At the parish council meeting on March 6, the proposals were discussed again and we will be applying to speak at the planning meeting on March 26 at Northwich Memorial Hall.

'With the plant, the future is one of increased HGV traffic, visual blight and continuous background noise at best. At worst it is one of unspeakable smells, health hazards and already inadequate drains that are totally incapable of coping with the additional load on them.

'My hope is that our borough councillors respect the fears and wishes of the residents of Comberbach, Antrobus and Great Budworth and understand that this wholly inappropriate commercial venture will have an irreparable effect on a happy, settled community.'


Are you concerned over the rendering plant? Telephone: 01606 42272 E-mail: midcheshire.news@cheshirenews.co.uk