Chris Down, of Crealy Farms, first submitted his application for an industrial pig unit in February, prior to a rejection of an earlier application in 2011, which featured on the BBC’s Inside Out programme.

The unit, which consists of a half acre slurry ‘lagoon’ and two large pig accommodation buildings, would span around three football pitches. 

An access track of around half a kilometre would also be constructed.

As the adjacent ward member I am entitled to give a view on the application.

Nearby heathland at Venn Ottery common supports some of the most sensitive flora and fauna in the country.  It is protected by European Legislation under the Habitats Regulations.

This heathland is designated a special protection area and a special area of conservation, due to the rare plants and habitat. 

The meadow subject to the planning application is classified as the highest quality crop growing land anywhere in the country – grades 1 and 3.

Since February there have been objections from Natural England, the RSPB, Devon Wildlife Trust, EDDC’s landscape officer and EDDC’s AONB officer.

Natural England and the RSPB are primarily concerned about the effect that nitrogen emissions may have on the sensitive wildlife on the pebblebed heathland.

The landscape and AONB officers are concerned about the impact on the countryside and views from public footpaths, in such a beautiful location.

There has been no environmental impact assessment carried out to my knowledge, although I have asked that this be done.  I am unclear why this has not been required, given the sensitivity of the land and intend to follow it up.

Understandably, many local residents are angry that the applicant has been given so many chances to amend his application, when there are so many clear policy reasons for refusal. 

I have read the latest set of documents and will be submitting my comments to EDDC shortly.