residents’ beef over farm plan

Earl Stonham House, Church Lane,  IP14 5ED.' Etc feature on Wagyu cattle man.'''Pictured; Andrew Deacon with his cattle.
Earl Stonham House, Church Lane, IP14 5ED.' Etc feature on Wagyu cattle man.'''Pictured; Andrew Deacon with his cattle.
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RESIDENTS in a small Mid Suffolk village are objecting to plans for a state-of-the-art cattle yard development which they say will ‘blight’ the landscape.

Villagers living in Creeting St Mary have signed a petition and written to Mid Suffolk District Council planning department objecting to proposals to demolish redundant pig sheds at Whissels Farm and build three cattle buildings, a roundhouse, machinery store, feed shed and farm office.

More than 80 objectors have signed a petition as villagers grow increasingly worried about the effect the site would have on their lives. They are concerned about significant increases in heavy traffic, noise pollution and odour, as well as the impact the development would have on the rural views.

The applicant, Andrew Deacon, runs Earl Stonham Farms, which owns the only Wagyu herd in Britain and produces high quality, specialist Kobe beef. He currently keeps 250 cattle at three different locations, but hopes to expand the herd and use the proposed development to accommodate all of them, eliminating the ‘highly inefficient and very costly’ process of managing three sites.

A statement submitted with the planning application – which has been backed by the parish council – said the ‘innovative’ proposed use would provide employment and revenue in the area and would be a development for ‘essential agricultural use’ in an area ‘heavily reliant on the agricultural sector’.

Mr Deacon says the business currently spends £200,000 in the local economy running the business.

But objectors argue the ‘unsightly’ and ‘obtrusive’ development will not create any jobs or bring money into the local economy. They are also concerned about the loss of trees and hedgerows, which provide important habitats for wildlife, and are worried that the proposal will result in the loss of ‘much-needed’ arable farming land to produce beef which goes to high-class restaurants ‘for the enjoyment of the rich not the masses’.

Mr Deacon said: “I’m a good neighbour and I’m going to be a good neighbour to these people. I wouldn’t be doing this here if I felt it was going to degrade their lives.

“I think Creeting St Mary should be pleased to be the home to the best beef in Britain – this is something to celebrate. The whole place is going to come alive.”

He allayed some fears, saying that traffic levels will remain low and that cattle do not smell.