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Starkey Farming Ltd withdraws Home Farm Logs planning application but Southwell residents fear it is not the end of the story

Plans to build a firewood and charcoal production business on farmland in Southwell have been withdrawn by the applicant.

People who had opposed the plan are delighted, but some fear it may not be the end of the story.

Hundreds of objections were made to the application, in which Starkey Farming Ltd wanted Home Farm Logs, including new plant and machinery, moved to land off Lower Kirklington Road.

Stock image Lower Kirklington Road Sign. (4160332)
Stock image Lower Kirklington Road Sign. (4160332)

Southwell Town Council also strongly objected to the proposal.

A letter to the applicant’s agents Fisher German, from Newark and Sherwood District Council, which would have determined the application, confirmed that it had been withdrawn.

Opponents of the plan said it would damage the environment, through pollution and its visual impact.

One of the objectors, Maythorne resident Jane Reay said: ‘We were, of course, delighted, and a little surprised, when we heard the planning application had been withdrawn.

“Our aim had been to make sure as many Southwell residents as possible were aware of the plans so they had the opportunity to object if they were against the application.

“We thank everyone who registered an objection on the Newark and Sherwood District Council planning site, and the 1000-plus people who signed the petition.

“Only time will tell if this is the end, if we have succeeded in saving the Southwell Trail, our environment, and avoided the potential pollution from both the site and additional heavy traffic ­— or have they just changed tack?”

David Martin (42348074)
David Martin (42348074)

Southwell Town Council had opposed the application.

At a meeting to discuss it, town councillor David Martin said: “I want to emphasise the strength of feeling in the community about this.

“We have had a lot of signatures and an extraordinary number of letters, and we want to back that up and strongly object.

“It involves the change of use of variable land to industrial land. It contradicts everything we have put into the Neighbourhood Plan.

“There are unused, unallocated sites elsewhere in Southwell, which might not be as convenient for farmers but is more convenient for us.

“The disruption to the residents because of lorry traffic, which is going up and down a farm track, will also churn up (mud) down Lower Kirklington Road.

“It is obviously going to put hard concrete down to support the machinery and therefore covers off land from normal drainage and water will have to go somewhere.

“Whilst it isn’t a flood risk area, the land nearby is.”

Fisher German had argued the move would create rural jobs, improve access arrangements, and lead to biodiversity enhancements.

They had said air pollution and excessive noise would not be an issue.

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