Residents win latest battle to stop farm processing imported milk

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A Chorley milk processing plant faces an uncertain future after the owners dropped a challenge against enforcement action being taken by the council.

J & B Woodcock and Sons were due to have an appeal heard next week against a decision by Chorley Council to knock down some of their buildings at Yew Tree House Farm on Coppull Hall Lane, Coppull.

However, the applicants have pulled out of an inquiry set for May 24 at Chorley Town Hall.

The firm also withdrew a separate request for a certificate of lawfulness for agricultural milk processing and industrial use.

The firm has been operating without the necessary planning permission and the owners will hold urgent talks with the council.

The farm has undergone a major expansion over the past two years with the erection of floodlights, silos and new buildings after it expanded its milk processing operation.

One possibility is that J & B Woodcock and Sons will be forced to restore the farm to what it was like in 2009. The company declined to comment when contacted by the Lancashire Evening Post.

Meanwhile, Coun Alan Cullens, who is responsible for planning enforcement issues for Chorley, would only say: “We have arranged to meet with the owners to discuss the future of the site.”

The facility produces 400,000 litres of milk a day and Coun Ken Ball, who represents Coppull, believes the farm has simply become a victim of its own success.

He said: “It used to be a small operation and nobody had a problem with that.

“Then two years ago it expanded beyond control. The problem is it didn’t have permission to run the expanded site.

“I have had many complaints from people on Spendmore Lane, Chapel Lane, Jolly Tar Lane and Coppull Hall Lane.

“Residents are sick and tired of wagons shaking their houses.

“There must be 80 vehicles coming down the road every day and it is destroying the roads.

“If they restore things to the dairy farm that it was two years ago that only processed its own milk, I don’t think there would be a problem. It simply overgrew the site.”

Resident Kim Begley, of nearby Goose Green Avenue, said: “It is really good news that we have won the first battle.

“It is like a game of chess and we are going to have to wait to see what their next move is.

“We think they will re-apply for another certificate until they get what they want and it means it could go on indefinitely, but we are going to keep fighting it.

“It used to be a farm producing milk but now the vehicles are coming to process milk and it is unlawful.”