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Object to zero-grazing farm proposal

This planning application is now being considered by the council (objections are not accepted anymore) - we will update you as soon as a decision has been made.

A planning application has been put forward to build four new dairy farm units at Crouchlands Farm in West Sussex. These will be zero-grazing units and the farm owners already have a dubious reputation according to the local group P.O.R.E.

Sadly, animal welfare is not taken into consideration in planning applications, but there are still plenty more reasons to object. You can find more information on animal welfare (or the lack of) at dairy farms elsewhere on this website but when submitting your objection, please bear in mind that ethical grounds are not going to be considered by the Planning Services.

Viva! has already submitted a detailed objection but we need your help. The more people object, the better the chances this planning application will be refused.

The deadline for objections has been extended to 17th October – all objections must be received by that date.

You can submit the objection via:

Here’s a template for your objection letter:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to formally object to this planning application:

16/02841/FUL | Proposed demolition of existing farm building and construction of a dairy unit with associated infrastructure, access and replacement of workers accommodation. | Crouchlands Farm Rickmans Lane Plaistow Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 0LE

The scale of the plan:

The proposed new buildings and infrastructure will be a brand new development covering seven acres of pasture field. This new development will more than quadruple the built-on land and will affect the entire area with its infrastructure. The scale and mass of the proposed structure is enormous and completely out of character with the surroundings. The size is such that it would have a major impact on the landscape and rural character of the area.

Environmental concerns:

The environmental assessment in the application fails to mention that the farm is in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, where pollution of surface water could pose a risk to watercourses.

The proposed development will generate a substantial amount of cow waste which the applicant proposes to dispose into the anaerobic digesters. According to the application, digestate will also be stored in lagoon 3. With regards to the fact that some of these structures were developed unlawfully (as reported by local group P.O.R.E. and planning application was applied for in retrospect, now subject to appeal in 2017, the applicant does not have a secure waste disposal plan in this Nitrate Vulnerable Zone at the moment.

The development of the new buildings and infrastructure and the subsequent daily operations at the farm, which will house up to 1,300 cows, will significantly increase HGV traffic and contribute to environmental pollution of the area further. It’s worth noting that the access lanes have been deemed unsuitable for any increase in HGV movement.

Noise and light pollution (the plans include the dairy units to be lit 24 hours) from the farm will also affect the surrounding woodland to a large extent.


According to P.O.R.E., the adjacent woodland is known to have badgers and barn owls and both species are likely to be affected by the farm operations to a large extent. The risk of pollution will pose a threat to the great crested newts in the ponds within 1 km of the site. And also according to P.O.R.E., the barbastelle bat and the Bechstein’s bat (both Annex II Species and therefore European Protected Species) have been recorded within 1 km of the site. 

Animal welfare:

Although animal welfare is not a consideration in planning applications, it’s important to mention that in the planned dairy units, the cows will be permanently kept indoors, making it a zero-grazing farm. This intensification means poorer welfare and a higher risk of disease.

Bad track record of the owners:

The Magistrate, in Worthing Magistrates Court, has fined Crouchland Farm for substantial damage to 13 kilometres of the River Kird in 2013. In 2015, there was a digestate spill from lagoon 2 on Crouchland Farm, which had no permit to store digestate.

According to P.O.R.E, the applicant unlawfully developed several facilities which are still operating despite being refused retrospective planning, these are subject to appeal in  2017. The applicant also polluted the local area repeatedly, which caused damage or death to numerous fish, plants and other wildlife in the process as documented by photographs available at

On these grounds, I ask that you reject proposal 16/02841/FUL.

Yours sincerely,


[remember to add your name and address otherwise your objection may not count]