BRACKLEY residents are split over a legal bid to fight for compensation over putrid odours which have blighted their neighbourhood.
Around 50 residents attended a meeting at Brackley Town Football Club organised by environmental law specialists from Hugh James solicitors last week to discuss alleged odour problems coming from the Faccenda chicken-processing plant on the Buckingham Road industrial estate.
But the meeting was held without the backing of Brackley’s Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) – a group centred on the Roman Estate which, since 2009, has been liaising with the Environment Agency, Brackley Town Council and representatives from the Faccenda chicken processing plant to resolve issues.
NAG spokesman Mike Langlois said that for years residents had complained about smells that forced them inside on summer days. But last year, after the firm invested in new equipment to reduce odours, NAG congratulated Faccenda for honouring commitments to solve the problem.
He added: “Over the past two years we have successfully campaigned for the eradication of chemical odour and hazards, as well as the substantial abatement of abattoir odours and our campaign for eradication of all odours continues.”
In contrast, however, Hugh James partner Gwen Evans said many at the meeting said they still experienced odour problems and that even if the situation was resolved they would be entitled to compensation going back six years. She said they were investigating a civil case based on the law of Private Nuisance and added: “Essentially the principle is we should be able to use our homes and gardens without unreasonable interference from our neighbours.”
Ms Evans said the courts had tended to award modest payouts under such laws which equate roughly to the cost of a family holiday. In a similar case against an aluminium foundry in Staffordshire, Hugh James secured a £1.4million payout to 132 families.
Faccenda managing director Andy Dawkins said it take its community responsibilities ‘very seriously’ and had invested heavily in new technology to reduce odours and was disappointed to hear about the latest claims.