LETTER: Plaistow farm owner’s final plea

Leon Mekitarian, managing director at Crouchland Biogas Limited SUS-151202-141841001
Leon Mekitarian, managing director at Crouchland Biogas Limited SUS-151202-141841001

Days before West Sussex County Council determines a controversial planning application to expand an energy plant at a farm in Plaistow, the owner has made his case once more.

A battle has reigned between Crouchland Farm, the residents and parish councils for months over the expansion of an anaerobic digester, which turns farm waste in to biogas for fuel.

This week Chichester District Council, which gave planning permission for the original anaerobic digester, sent a strong letter to the county council’s planning department expressing their concerns.

The issues of contention include the number of HGVs using the country roads and noise from the equipment and traffic to and from the farm.

The county council planning committee will make its decision on the retrospective application on Tuesday March 3 at what is expected to be a packed meeting.

Now Leon Mekitarian, managing director of Crouchland Biogas has submitted this letter to the County Times.

Dear Sir,

As the date on which the Crouchland Biogas application comes before WSCC’s Planning Committee approaches, I thought I would directly address some of the issues that have been raised, in order to clear up any residual confusion.

Crouchland Farm has been operating an anaerobic digestion facility since 2009, and over the subsequent six years our vehicle movements have decreased; most importantly, they will further decrease should permission be granted on Tuesday, as it will offer the opportunity for greater regulation.

As part of our application, we have gone above and beyond mitigation expectations by including noise abatement measures, paths across the farm, 4,000m2 of trees, and improvements to the local road infrastructure.

Chichester District Council has approved our plant in stages over several years, but this new application will provide limits and controls to the operation.

Ultimately, we want to sustain our dairy farm, but also to be good neighbours, welcomed by the community. We employ more than twenty people and help to support more than twenty nearby farms; we invest more than £1.2m each year in these farms, and they depend upon us.

We are looking forward to attending the committee on Tuesday, and we are confident that the key planning matters and facts of the case will come to the fore.

Leon Mekitarian

To view the report on the county council’s website click here

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