Halal chicken abattoir asks Preston Council to relax restrictions on its operating hours

A halal chicken slaughterhouse has asked Preston Council to relax restrictions on Sunday and bank holiday working.

By Brian Ellis
Friday, 21st January 2022, 3:45 pm

The owners of Gafoor Poultry Products in Fletcher Road say their business needs to operate on more days to meet the needs of its customers and suppliers.

Strict conditions were imposed on the premises by a planning inspector more than 20 years ago when the company won an appeal to build the plant.

Now Gafoor says the poultry industry has changed so much over the past two decades, that closing down production for one or two days a week can have a major effect on its business.

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The Gafoor slaughterhouse in Fletcher Road, Preston.

The company is currently closed on Saturdays. The terms of its planning permission also forbid it to open on Sundays and on bank and other public holidays.

Gafoor is asking the council if the restrictions can be relaxed to allow it to work on public holidays and also on a Sunday "where a Sunday follows directly before or after a religious or festival day."

It says the loss of these day during a five-day working week "puts too much pressure on the production workforce."

It adds: "The through flow of chickens from suppliers/farmers is continuous (irrespective of bank holidays) and a four working days does not provide enough time to process the number of birds being produced by the farms."

The company wants to operate on bank holidays and some Sundays.

Gafoor applied to have the conditions changed last October, but then withdrew the application. It has now come back with a new request for flexibility.

In its application three months ago the company said: "The supply, transportation, slaughter and processing of chicken is now a seven day a week industry which is required to meet the needs of consumers and where there is a growing requirement for work to take place in Sundays and bank holidays.

"A delay in the transportation from the farms by one or even two days (where there is a bank/public holiday) creates problems for the rearing and overall welfare of the birds, which is very tightly controlled and part of the overall production regime commonplace within the poultry industry.

"Supermarkets require fresh chicken produce to be available seven days per week. Clearly where there are two days where chickens cannot be processed (on Sundays and bank holidays) this creates significant problems in the processing and cold storage of chicken meat - which is produced fresh and cannot be frozen as dictated by supermarkets which are the biggest customer for the applicant."

Back on 2000 Preston Council refused planning permission for the slaughterhouse and processing plant because it was felt it would impact on residents and businesses in the neighbourhood.

On appeal the application was allowed, although there were strict conditions over hours of opening, meaning the plant could only operate between 7am and 9pm Monday to Saturday.

Gafoor says it is happy to stick to those opening hours, although it does not open on a Saturday by choice.