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Council defends its actions in dispute over wild boar farm near Haverhill

A council has defended its handling of a licence application and planning issues connected to a wild boar farm not far from Haverhill.

A residents’ group opposed to the 131-boar farm run by the New England Boar Company, at Pitt Wood Farm, near Sturmer, has claimed that Braintree District Council (BDC) acknowledged that it was wrong to permit building development on the site without planning permission.

The group also claimed the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) found BDC to be at fault in allowing the keeping of wild boar in Pitt Wood without a licence, which is a criminal offence under The Dangerous Wild Animals Act and that the LGO had said BDC had bypassed due process.

A 'keep out' sign at the New England Boar Company at Pitt Wood Farm. Submitted picture
A 'keep out' sign at the New England Boar Company at Pitt Wood Farm. Submitted picture

In response a BDC spokesperson, said: “An individual brought a judicial review claim against the council regarding its treatment of an application to determine whether prior approval was required for a new agricultural building in Pitt Wood, with one of the conditions relating to the fact that what was proposed is considered ‘permitted development’ and does not need formal planning permission.

“This was entirely unrelated to the licensing of wild boar on the site and was a planning matter.

“Although the matter was formally conceded close to the hearing date, Braintree District Council had already indicated to the court in the summer that it did not wish to defend its decision.

Wild boars at Pitt Wood
Wild boars at Pitt Wood

“The primary basis for this was that the council had not given sufficient reasons for its decision that no prior approval was required.

“The law is unclear in this area, and so the council therefore considered it a prudent use of its funds to compromise the claim, rather than fight it in court.

“The matter is currently back with the council’s planning and legal teams for further consideration.

“In relation to the licensing of this site, to date, Braintree District Council as the licensing authority has not received a further application to determine with respect to this site since the previous licence expired on 24th January 2021.

“The council also has a current planning enforcement case in relation to alleged breaches of planning control at the site. As the case is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage until this has been concluded.”

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