Animal welfare campaigners march past Derbyshire Dales District Council over plans for a rabbit slaughterhouse

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T&S Rabbits have applied for planning permission to construct a ‘food production building’ and worker accommodation off Turlowfield Lane, sparking outcry from activist groups and members of the public.

Council rejected the proposals last year on the grounds that any previous agricultural use of the land had been negligible and buildings would therefore encroach on the countryside.

The company launched an appeal in April, then withdrew it – but protesters took to the streets on Tuesday June 14 to demand that the site be completely cleaned up to limit the prospects of a new app. The temporary structures were permitted in 2017, but have since been found to breach planning conditions.

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The demonstrators began with a public demonstration in Crown Square before marching to the town hall.

A spokesperson for the Stop T&S Rabbits campaign group said: ‘We are delighted that Phil Kerry, owner of T&S, has decided not to hold a planning hearing. We’re hoping that means he’s ditched his Atlow site, making it the second site he’s stopped raising rabbits at in the past month. Although we should be on the lookout for a new call.

They added: ‘Derbyshire Dales Council must now ensure that all rabbit keeping equipment and temporary worker accommodation is permanently removed from the site, in accordance with the Planning Act.

“We thank everyone involved in the resistance on the farm and invite everyone to join our campaign.”

T&S Rabbits grows meat and fur at several sites across the country, each a regular target for activists who have reported evidence of poor welfare practices and animals with serious health issues.

However, Mr Kerry insists the decision to withdraw Atlow’s appeal was not due to outside pressure.

He said: “Our solicitor advised us to withdraw the appeal because special circumstances with the former farm manager required us to withdraw all cattle for a period of time. Activists don’t make much of a difference. Their claims about our welfare standards are fabricated rubbish and just an inconvenience to the industry.

“We are considering a new app for the site with a different business model, and we hope authority will give us the space to do so.”

A council spokesman said: “This is a live enforcement matter, but we are awaiting a request to regularize the use of temporary accommodation, which will then be dealt with through the normal process of planning request.”

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