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  1. Published on: 04/09/2019 05:51 AMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Scarisbrick locals have come out en masse to reject plans for a new mushroom factory in the village.

    Seventy folk - around ten times the number who usually attend the parish council - were at Monday night's PC meeting with folk unanimously against plans by Smithy Mushrooms of Smithy Lane to expand in the village.

    This report from protestor Vicki Murphy who has obviously done her homework on the impact of the new factory: 'Over 70 members of the public were there to discuss planning application reference 2019/0747/FUL, a proposed planning application for a mushroom factory not farm.

    The parish council gave opportunity for any of the attending public to speak if they were for, neutral or against the development.

    Every member of the public in the crowd agreed and voted that they objected to such development and all spoke up about their concerns. If this proposal is passed by planning, it will be the largest building in Lancashire on what was prime agricultural land.

    The prevailing concern voiced was the major concerns over the traffic on the rural roads and the stress on surrounding infrastructure.

    Residents stated that the increased number of HGVs on the B5242 Burscough to Southport Road in the Scarisbrick parish is already ridiculous and dangerous; accounts of near misses and accidents were given as examples by local residents, even though the planning application states that there isn’t an issue.

    One member of the public informed that an Arriva bus driver had concerns over buses and HGVs crossing each other on the road, as there simply isn’t enough room for them to pass. Please note that the road is approximately 5.5metres wide and maximum width of an HGV is 2.55 metres wide and a bus is between 2.4/2.7 metres wide. Concerns were raised about potentially stopping the bus service also on this because of this issue.

    Small lanes are not meant for HGV and larger vehicles as they must mount what little pavement there currently is. 'Assumed' movements of 8 HGV/large vehicles per hour will have a major impact - it will be open for 13hours a day but will be operational 24 hours a day.

    Smithy Mushrooms already has an incredible number of HGVs going to and from it, but the retention of this site and working between this and the proposed new site will make Smithy Lane and its junction extremely dangerous. Not forgetting to mention the site will have 58 car parking spaces.

    A discussion about the size of the proposed development had everyone in agreement that it will swamp everything around it, and that this factory in the middle of greenbelt land has very little relationship between agriculture. It will be an open gate for future development and that it should be on an industrial estate. Local people want farming and fields NOT factories.

    A neighbouring farmer next to the proposed site has major concerns about significant flooding on the land, with tonnes of concrete being put on grade 1 prime agricultural land which he has farmed for many decades.

    Local farmers work together in the area to look after and maintain ditches running between the fields which takes a lot of care, time and expertise; the farmers voiced that a mushroom factory funded by venture capitalists wouldn’t be interested in looking after ditches and basic farming principles. They also voiced concerns the culverts are already blocked and that the proposed site is planning to drain wastewater into the ditches. What is in this wastewater?

    The socio-economic benefits are exaggerated as it is a fact that the UK horticultural industry overwhelming uses migrant labour. In real terms, very little will contribute to the local economy. Out of the 70 jobs being created out of this development there are only actually 29 locally.

    Residents also discussed many ecological concerns and the adverse impact it will have on the local ecology. Artificial lighting and the site being operational 24 hours a day will destroy habitats and wildlife.

    The profile of this proposed planning application needs to be raised and members of the public need to be vocal - there will be a public meeting on Tuesday 10th September at 7pm onwards in Scarisbrick Village Hall, Smithy Lane.

    All welcome!'
        

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