Villagers mobilise to kill off halal abattoir plan near their rural homes in north Preston
Villagers are up in arms over claims that a former chicken farm near their homes could be replaced by a halal slaughterhouse and processing plant.
Locals in rural Catforth near Preston are mobilising a mass protest - even though the idea has yet to be officially confirmed.
A meeting of the parish council on Tuesday is set to discuss the matter, with one resident claiming: "There is a huge movement building against this."
Chris Hopkinson said: "This has galvanised the entire village. I gather the company has had over 100 letters objecting to it. There is such a strength of feeling in the area.
"It's nothing to do with it being halal meat, absolutely not. The key issue is that it's a slaughterhouse in the middle of a small village, accessed by very narrow country lanes and blind bends.
"It's very dangerous for the volume of traffic required for a development of that size, with wagons coming and going. And it will cause a smell, attract vermin and the area floods as well, so there is a potential for pollution."
Woodplumpton Parish Council has sounded a note of caution saying: "It is all just rumour at the moment. We have not had any confirmation to say this is what is being considered."
It is understood the possibility of an abattoir on the former hatcheries site owned by Tom Barron Ltd was leaked to villagers by someone within the company. It is believed the plant would be for processing sheep, goats and chickens.
But no planning application has so far been submitted to Preston City Council and, despite an attempt by the Post to contact the company, no official confirmation has so far been forthcoming.
Parish council clerk Julie Buttle issued a statement saying: "Local residents have informed the parish council that Tom Barrons Limited are considering selling the former hatchery on Square Lane, Catforth to a slaughterhouse/meat processing company.
"Whilst residents may wish to contact Tom Barrons to voice their objections to the sale of the hatchery and the new business proposal, the parish council needs to make its representation through the appropriate channels – which is usually at the planning application stage.
"A planning application will detail any alterations to the existing site layout, any proposed new buildings, the type of livestock involved, the processes to be followed, whether the process will include packaging and distribution, the hours of business, vehicular movements, employment levels etc, etc.
"It is understood that several residents wish to attend the July parish council meeting to express their feelings about the proposed sale, however, members will not be able to answer any questions relating to the above points until the full facts are known."
That council meeting is on Tuesday at 7pm, although the public gallery is limited to 20 seats and they were all reserved within minutes of the notice going up.