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Proposal for new Bernard Matthews chicken factory gets go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 10:04 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 17 April 2019

A proposal to extend the Bernard Matthews factory in Holton, near Halesworth, has been approved. Picture: Bernard Matthews

A proposal to extend the Bernard Matthews factory in Holton, near Halesworth, has been approved. Picture: Bernard Matthews

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A new poultry plant which looks set to create at least 650 full-time jobs has been given the green light.

An overhead view of the current Bernard Matthews factory at Holton, near Halesworth airfield. Picture: Mike PageAn overhead view of the current Bernard Matthews factory at Holton, near Halesworth airfield. Picture: Mike Page

Norfolk-based turkey giant Bernard Matthews was seeking permission from East Suffolk Council's planning committee to build a chicken processing factory in Holton, near Halesworth, extending their current factory onto adjacent land.

Opposition was, however, voiced by Holton Parish Council who were concerned at a potential increase in traffic across the area.

Six letters of objection were also submitted, highlighting issues including the speed of passing lorries, noise levels and the impact of development work on the surrounding environment.

But at a meeting of East Suffolk Council's shadow planning committee (north) yesterday evening, members unanimously voted in favour of the application - subject to steps being taken to alleviate local concerns.

Tony Goldson - a councillor for Halesworth - was satisfied at the approval of the plans, but expressed concern at the safety of residents due to the potential increase in passing lorries.

He asked: “Can we be guaranteed that lorries will be instructed to not to use the B1124 road? I would like an assurance that there will be a ban on use of the road enforced by Bernard Matthews.”

Councillor Graham Elliott added: “We have a scheme here that is very close to pleasing everyone.

“My only concerns are the need for appropriate bunding around the factory and I don't think there is any need for all these trees to be removed. I would prefer to see a significant amount of trees left as they are, even if it is at the expense of parking provision.”

The existing Bernard Matthews factory is used to prepare turkey-based foods throughout the year, but 75pc of annual production takes place during the run up to Christmas.

In papers submitted to councillors, the company highlighted an increasing difficulty in recruiting 650 workers solely for the peak festive period.

The new factory will employ more than 650 full-time staff, who will be “re-deployed in the run-up to Christmas to supplement the workforce in the turkey production factory meeting the seasonal peak in demand.”

In addition to the hundreds of full-time jobs, the development is expected to create 175 temporary roles while construction takes place.

Development work will begin within the next three years.

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