Proposals for a thermal oxidiser to reduce the stench from a Harborough factory have been approved by councillors.
Harborough District Council gave the green-light to the plans for the JG Pears factory in Leicester Road on Harborough’s northern outskirts.
The company - which renders animal meat for use in pet food and the fat for soap - wants to build a new thermal oxidiser and replacement effluent treatment plant, which it says will reduce smells coming from the factory.
Residents living at nearby Gallow Lodge have complained for years about a stench they have described as akin to ‘rotting meat broth’.
However they objected to JG Pears planning application, telling last night’s planning meeting they feared the firm planned to expand the operation, rather than improve the situation for local residents.
David Stanhope said he had lived in Gallow Lodge for 25 years and noticed the smell had got considerably worse in recent years.
The meeting also heard from Simon Bland, a tenant at Gallow Lodge who said he moved out because the smell had got so bad.
“It was an occasional whiff when I moved in but the smell got worse and it got to the point that sitting in the garden was unbearable,” he said.
Residents also told the meeting about light pollution and noise from the factory.
JG Pears operations director Alistair Collins told the committee the oxidiser was not part of a planned expansion but would generate power for the factory and reduce odour.
He said the appplication had been prompted by advances in technology.
Sitting on the planning committee, Cllr Barbara Johnson asked for reassurances the technology would have the promised effect on odours from the factory and appealed for the council and the compant to remain in dialogue with local residents.
Another committee member, Cllr David Beaty, said: “The stench of rotting flesh is awful, not nice at all.
“But it sounds to me that the company is trying to stop the smell. I would have though it would make it a lot better for everybody.
“No one is talking about closing down the factory so I would have thought if the residents want the smell gone then this is the only way of doing it.”