RESIDENTS living near a proposed pig farm in County Durham are planning to stage a protest against the development.

Organisers of the protest outside Biggin Farm, New Brancepeth, near Durham say the event on Saturday will be peaceful.

People living near the village are angry about proposals to build two sheds, which would house up to 4,000 pigs.

Loading article content

It is an extension of farm owner Mark Westgarth’s existing operation at Newsham, in North Yorkshire.

There are already around 1,000 pigs living on the farm, which were moved into existing sheds there last summer.

Linzi Kennedy, who lives in nearby Ushaw Moor but is moving back to New Brancepeth at the end of the month, is organising the protest.

The animal activist said: “All the residents’ complaints are being ignored so I wanted to do something about it.

“I think people have lots of different reasons for being there. I’m concerned about animal welfare but more than anything it’s the environmental impact.

“Our village is so small we don’t think we can handle this.”

A statement by the applicant says: “The applicants operate a successful pig breeding enterprise and wish to develop Biggin House Farm as an expansion of this business, continuing their proven model of efficiency and high health and welfare standards for pigs.”

More than 170 objections have been submitted to Durham County Council’s planning forum, including ones from MP Roberta Blackman-Woods, the Woodland Trust, Durham Wildlife Trust and several residents’ groups.

Concerns are centred around the suitability of access roads, which have restricted HGV use, the possibility of run-off into the River Deerness, odours and the intensity of farming.

The Northern Echo contacted Mr Westgarth for comment on the protest.

It takes place between 10am and 2pm.