The Village has been inundated with letters from people opposed to a rendering plant at Hopwood. Here is a much-abridged selection of what they had to say.
* For many years now residents of Hopwood and in particular Waterside Orchard have had to suffer problems brought about by Mayfield Farm. We have had to put up with odours, swarms of flies and noise.
It is now time to say no more. We do not want a rendering plant with its cocktail of fallout gases, nor do we want the eyesore of a tall chimney on green belt land, nor the extra traffic from lorries bringing loads of putrefying animal carcasses and also taking away the finished product.
I would urge everyone in the vicinity to write with their objections to Bromsgrove District Council and Worcester County Council as soon as possible.
Mrs S L Thompson, Hopwood
* I would like to protest at the prospect of an animal rendering plant at Mayfield Farm. It would cause very serious problems indeed, both for the council and residents, possibly for a radius of three or four miles, not to mention the indescribable stench.
The surrounding properties would certainly fall dramatically in value and become almost unsaleable. There are many other issues to consider which would take many pages to cover. I do not relish the possibility of living with these conditions.
Mr H Twigg, Hopwood
* If any of the officials had lived beside the smells and noise created by these plants over the many years we have, they would never allow such a thing beside housing, not to mention with a hotel and public house nearby.
We have at last a better environment and hope sincerely we can continue this way. The height of the chimney makes no difference to the smells.
Mrs O P Crockett, Hopwood
* I would urge everyone, especially parents of young children to write to Nicola Benge, Acting Director of Public Health, Primary Healthcare Trust, Crossgate House, Crossgate Road, Park Farm, Redditch B98 7SN.
Children’s health is at risk, especially if they suffer from respiratory conditions, such as asthma.
G Simpson, Hopwood
* I strongly object to Mayfield Farm being allowed to operate as a rendering plant as up to now we have had no proof that, if the plant is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it would not cause health problems for people suffering chest or skin allergies.
What with all the smells, noise and traffic we already have to put up with, only 50 metres from our homes in a green belt area, why should we have to put up with any more?
Mr & Mrs Rogers, Hopwood
* I would like to object most strongly to the work that is going on at Mayfield Farm. Even before it is in full flow there are lorries loaded with waste food going into the farm. The worry also is that if the chimney is built, we are in direct line for any smells, chemical fallout and in summer all the flies that come with this sort of operation.
If work can be stopped and moved to some deserted area, I think a few thousand people will be very happy.
Mr & Mrs G Thompson, Hopwood
* I strongly object, mainly on health and safety grounds, as we have had no assurance from the council that this plant will not harm people with breathing or skin problems, and with the smells, noise and traffic we are having, what will it be like when the plant operates 24 hours per day, seven days a week? How can this be allowed?
Mrs T Wilson, Hopwood
* Firstly I thought this area was in the green belt. Also this processing plant would be of considerable size, and have a chimney some 25 metres high for escaping gases.
This would obviously be a nuisance to the people living in Hopwood, Alvechurch and the surrounding districts. There would also be other inconveniences to the environment, least of all the traffic.
L W Astle, Hopwood
* What is the council thinking of, a rendering plant in a residential area? Have we not suffered enough from the pig swill – now it starts again. I want to live in the countryside with country smells, not by an industrial plant rendering animal carcasses. The smell will be disgusting. Stop this planning permission now.
Ms A Faulkner, Hopwood
* After a brief reprieve from smells and noise coming from Mayfield Farm, we now find ourselves facing an even worse scenario with pollution billowing from an eyesore chimney and traffic in and out.
We find it incomprehensible that the relevant council dealing with this matter could even consider such a scheme and we will be seeking answers to why we should live in misery and the possibility of our properties devaluing while others prosper.
Mr & Mrs R Harrison, Hopwood
* It was particularly worrying to have the focus of the planning decisions moved to the county authority as they are so much more remote and there is a sort of “inverse square law” in the concern for our distress. The concern is inversely proportional to the square of the distance!
An added concern is the length of time that this matter is dragging on and there is an increasing amount of activity at Mayfield Farm with recurrences of “the great stink” from time to time. Why is it that the authorities are so inadequate in these matters? I am baffled that such activities are allowed to continue with so little apparent control.
Alan Ogden, Hopwood
* The quantity of the oxides of nitrogen and sulphur issuing from a rendering plant chimney will be monitored and amounts permitted which would not exceed certain concentrations estimated to fall over a given wide area.
Under certain atmospheric conditions a large proportion of the emissions could fall upon a relatively small area thus causing distress to many, precipitate asthma attacks in the predisposed, with danger to infants and to the elderly with pre-existing heart and lung problems.
Please address letters requesting clarification of health risks to the Planning and Technical Officers and to the Officers for Public Health of both Bromsgrove District and Worcestershire County Councils.
Dr A D Armond, Barnt Green
* My chief objection to the proposed rendering at Hopwood is regarding health. As an asthma sufferer, I am affected by smells such as scent, after shave, cigarette smoke and paint.
When a pig farm was on the site where the rendering plant might be, I experienced breathing difficulties each time the smell came our way. Offensive smells could be detected in a two to three mile radius.
I dread emissions, which will not be prevented from reaching Barnt Green and other surrounding villages however tall the chimney installed at such a plant.
I would therefore urge all residents of surrounding villages to send their objections, as a matter of urgency, to Mr Mark Bishop, Development Control Team Leader, Worcestershire County Council Environmental Services, County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester WR5 2NP.
Dr Jane Armond, Barnt Green
* I have lived at Waterside Orchard for the past 18 years and over that period of time, Bromsgrove council has been bombarded with complaints about the stench and noise we had to contend with at Mayfield Farm.
We are to suffer once again from stench and noise, and what long-term effect is the pollution going to have on the health of residents, and most of all the children of the neighbouring areas of Mayfield Farm?
And what of areas of Birmingham which are only one-and-a-half miles from Bromsgrove district – have they any idea of the pollution that the wind is going to carry over on to them?
* Someone somewhere has got to wake up to the consequences this rendering plant is going to have.
Mrs E H Harris, Hopwood
* We in Hopwood have put up with pig farming smells for years. Now the same farm is trying to start another development creating more smells. This is a green belt residential area, and also the influx of lorries carrying animal carcasses on this overused A441 road will create more pollution than there is at present. It has to be refused planning permission.
F Bradford, Hopwood
* We have not been told of the pollution and health risks that come with this facility and none of us know the size of the area that will be affected. What we do know, however, is that all the residents of Hopwood will be affected.
We are already seeing the effect that even the potential of having this facility on our doorstep is having on house prices. The detrimental effect can only get worse if the go-ahead is given.
There must be better locations for such a facility, and the proposed siting so close to a residential area has to be reconsidered. I urge all local residents to stand together on this issue, and make your feelings known, before it is too late.
Myra Pritchard, Hopwood
* This plan would be an eyesore for one thing, and it is going to take value off all our properties. We would also have all these heavy lorries going down to Mayfield Farm filled with all this horrible stuff to render. It’s time the council took this matter seriously and just say this can’t be done.
We all came here to live with the intention of having a clean and peaceful life in our retirement. My partner and myself are absolutely disgusted with the situation.
Mary Payne & Fred Reeves, Hopwood
* I hope that after reading your editorial in the May issue, regarding the proposed animal rendering plant, that your readers and all other residents of Alvechurch, Barnt Green, Hopwood, Cofton Hackett and beyond, will show their rightful indignation and resentment, by all possible means, by voicing their objections to Worcestershire County Council and DEFRA as soon as possible.
Your proposal that parish councils organise and co-ordinate a poll of all residents in their parishes is an excellent suggestion, but I see no sign of this happening as yet and unless we all act quickly, agreement to the proposed chimney and animal rendering plant will be a fait accompli – there will be one winner and thousands of losers.
Objections should be made to: Worcestershire County Council, Environmental Services, PO Box 373, County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester WR5 2XG and to: DEFRA Noble House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR, quoting the reference numbers B/2003/0656 and Worcs CC: 407574/MB.
* I have lived at Waterside Orchard for many years; in the past we had to put up with the smells from a pig farm and swarms of large flies. Now that the pigs have gone things have improved a little.
But I think this would alter for the worse should the planning application be granted. I for one who lives at Waterside Orchard am totally against any sort of meat rendering plant being installed at the site.
It is an embarrassment even to have visitors at times who have to endure the smells. This type of process is not one that should be allowed to operate in a residential area.
Mr M Adams, Hopwood
Sir – Apart from the noise and congestion from the lorries, the smell would return and we would again be “Smelly Hopwood”. This should not be allowed to happen; many families live very close to this site, even those in the surrounding villages will be affected by it. Smells, like anything nasty, should be stamped out and not allowed to pollute our countryside. When it comes to priorities, I find that people now appear at the bottom of the list. They call this progress, I call it shame!
Mrs Sheila M Brown, Hopwood
* If this rendering plant is allowed to develop to the degree intended, then the residents of Hopwood and possibly some of Alvechurch can say goodbye to summer evenings, barbecues, sitting in your own back garden, hanging washing out and bringing it back inside as clean as you took it out, even having windows open; because even now, while it is operating at its legal level, the stench from these massive lorries as they thunder through Hopwood with their cargo is simply dreadful.
It was bad enough to endure years of the smell of swill being cooked and fields sprayed, but this new venture will be working 24 hours a day. The people of Hopwood and Alvechurch do not deserve this and are entitled to go about their daily business without the fallout from this wholly unacceptable operation in a residential area.
All at 1 Wharf Cottage
(300 yards away)
* My husband and I live directly opposite Mayfield Farm. We both suffer from asthma and the use and emissions of toxic chemicals from the chimney have got to be detrimental to the quality of the air.
Quite often at the moment we have to endure strong and sickly smells from the farm and this can be very nauseating – so what will it be like if the application for the rendering plant is approved?
Mrs A L Hake, Hopwood
* When we moved here we never expected to have to put up with this in a green belt area.
Mr & Mrs Robinson, Hopwood
* It is hard to understand why two permissions have been granted by the district council for the process of rendering and now the only opportunity to stop it happening is to lobby for refusal of permission to build a chimney.
Is it any wonder that ordinary people do not have the understanding to protest sufficiently early for their voice to be effective?
Dorothy Young, Barnt Green
* In response to the small placards around the village, I am writing to you to express my utter disapproval to the carcass rendering plant proposal at Mayfield Farm, or indeed anywhere near Alvechurch.
Considering the appalling stench that used to be released from Mayfield Farm while the pig farm and swill plant was there, I cannot believe that planners think this will be acceptable. I certainly do not.
Richard Whitwell, Alvechurch
* It is not right that what was once a pig farm processing some pigswill (on a small scale) should be allowed to operate a large industrial business in a village community in a green belt area. The consequential pollution across Hopwood, Barnt Green and Alvechurch is very worrying and we urge the council to refuse planning permission.
Jon and Isla Davies, Hopwood
* I am amazed that an industrial development of this nature could be allowed in a green belt area. I would like to register my concern and urge that planning consent is refused for this development on the following grounds:
The development is not appropriate in a green belt area; the farm concerned has caused a smell nuisance in the past; the discharge from rendering plants have the potential to cause serious health problems in the surrounding area from dioxins etc. that can be produced if very strict control of the process plant is not achieved; the potential smell nuisance will reduce the amenity value of the adjacent canal and could affect the property values in both Alvechurch and Barnt Green.
Appeals for rateable value reduction should be expected. The increased road lorry traffic supplying the proposed plant would significantly increase congestion on the A441 which is very busy in mornings and evenings.
I know my views are shared by many people in the area affected.
John Jagger, Barnt Green
* As residents of Hopwood for the past 21 years, we have had to suffer smells from Mayfield Farm. And I understand, from residents of longer standing, that they have been going on for longer than that.
Originally, they were from the intensive pig rearing being carried out both there and at the premises on the north side of the canal. There was many a Summer’s day/evening when we couldn’t go into our gardens, or have the windows open because of the smells, and even washing hung out to dry would smell.
If a rendering plant is allowed to exist on this site, it will become even more intolerable, as not only will mountains of rotting meat be imported into our village, but we will have to put up with the “cooking” smells as well. We have suffered long enough.
Mr & Mrs K Rixon, Hopwood