Residents furious after 2,000sqm Preston chicken factory extension approved despite 1,300 objections

The Gafoor site in Fletcher Road, Preston
The Gafoor site in Fletcher Road, Preston
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Residents have hit out at planning chiefs who signed off a controversial chicken factory extension without putting it to debate.

Gafoor Pure Halal applied for permission for a two-storey extension to the side of its factory in Fletcher Road and a single storey addition to the rear, which was agreed last month.

More than 1,300 people signed a petition against the extension, claiming smells from the factory were having a “huge effect” on local businesses and residents.

There were also letters of objection, backed by St Matthews councillor Jade Morgan. A number of letters in support of the Gafoor plans were also received, along with a petition in support.

Despite the application being classed as a major planning application by the council, the decision was taken under delegated powers by council officers rather than by councillors at planning committee, meaning the decision was not discussed in public.

A spokesman for the local Neighbourhood Watch said: “People feel very, very frustrated. It’s very worrying how they can disregard everyone. The petition was signed by 1,300 people, but we could have easily doubled that given time. Why is nobody listening?”

Robin Maudsley, chairman of the local Police and Communities Together (PACT) group, and who has lived 100 metres from the factory since it opened, said residents want to launch an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate to get the decision overturned.

He said: “There’s always been a stench, it should never have been built in a residential area. People have complained to the council for years, and they feel like they’re banging their head against a brick wall.

“It doesn’t seem right that it’s not gone to the planning committee. It raises a lot of questions.”

A spokesman at Preston City Council said the number of objections does not have any bearing on whether an application is dealt with by committee or under delegated powers by officers.

They added: “The types of applications to be determined by the Director of Development include detailed applications involving more than 2,000sqm gross floorspace. The proposed extensions do not exceed more than 2,000sqm gross floorspace, hence the application was determined under delegated powers, in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation, which was updated and approved by the Council in December 2015.”

Gafoor did not respond to a request for a comment.