Residents say farm move is Quackers

Protesting about new quackers site in Cotmanhay.
Protesting about new quackers site in Cotmanhay.

Cotmanhay pensioners are furious over plans to move a community farm right next door to their homes.

Quackers – a much-loved resource currently based in the Bridge Inn car park – wants to expand the educational resources it offers to schoolchildren on a bigger site at the top of Skeavington’s Lane.

But elderly residents in the Three Valleys block off Whitwell Close, which backs on to the vacant council-owned land fear noise, smell, and increased traffic will plague their lives if the plan gets the go-ahead.

Trevor Preece, 73, is against the plan and has gathered signatures from 18 of his 20 neighbours in objection.

“I can’t understand the council wanting to put that business right against OAPs’ bungalows,” he said.

“There’s a cockerel at 3am every morning, squawking and crowing.

“We couldn’t hang washing out for smoke and grime.”

He said the narrow farm track leading up towards Pykett Tractors is often used by HGVs, which he said could be dangerous for the young visitors to the farm.

“It’s always been peaceful here – it’s a lovely place, and we’re all elderly people,” he added.

Neighbour Victor Henshaw, 68, lives closest to the site – he fears his beloved aviary will be affected.

“They’ll be literally at the back of my fence,” he said.

He added that he had concerns about smells from fires.

But Melanie Woolins, who runs Quackers with Jackie Whipp, hit back at the residents this week, saying noise and smell will be at a minimum.

“We have never had complaints where we are now,” she said.

“We have got letters of support from Cllr Carol Hart, former cabinet member for public health, and MP Jessica Lee.”

The farm takes on people with disabilities and unemployed people referred by the Job Centre, and gives work experience and educational trips to children from schools, including Broomfield College, Ormiston Enterprise Academy and Long Eaton School.

“Whether we move or not, I think it’s awful that people can’t appreciate the good things that we do,” she said.

She offered to meet the residents face to face to discuss their objections.

Erewash Borough Council, which is offering the derelict land at the top of Skeavington’s Lane to Quackers, has asked about 350 neighbours to the site what they think.

Stuart Lloyd, head of customer and support services, said: “This is just a proposal and that is why we are asking people for their views.

“Our consultation has just opened and runs until July 31 – so we would encourage people to let us know their thoughts.”

Residents can also give their thoughts via the council’s website.