Controversial horse crematorium approved on appeal

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  • Controversial plans for an equine crematorium in an area home to many racing yards have been given the green light.

    West Berkshire Council has twice refused permission for the change of use of Old Wessex Saw Mill in Great Shefford, Berkshire, in the past three years.

    The site is close to Lambourn, which is home to more than 1,500 racehorses.

    But plans have now been given the go-ahead following an appeal.

    In 2014, J Passey and Sons, applied for permission to open an abattoir on the site, which was refused the following spring.

    In 2016 the company submitted plans for an equine crematorium, which were again refused by West Berkshire Council.

    There was been strong opposition from the local community.

    Henrietta Knight and Paul Cole are among those to have publicly opposed to the plans.

    “It’s amazing how horses do know,” Ms Knight told The Telegraph at the time.

    “They know the smell, they know something’s going on.”

    The response from Great Shefford Parish Council states that there was a “strong and emotive” turnout to debate the application at a meetings in 2016.

    Concerns were raised about the impact the application could have on racehorses in the area and whether flooding of the site could result in contaminated water supplies.

    The parish council supported its residents’ concerns and West Berkshire Council refused permission in October 2016.

    But the applicant lodged an appeal against the decision with the Planning Inspectorate, which is responsible for determining final outcomes for planning applications and appeals.

    The Planning Inspectorate upheld the appeal and rubber-stamped the plans on 9 January.

    In response to concerns about the effect it could have on nearby racehorses and other livestock, the inspector states this is “not substantiated”.

    “I therefore can only attach very limited weight to these matters in my consideration of the proposal,” states the report.

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