Concerns over anthrax scare on homes site

Alan Stuckenbrock by the site, MPLO
Alan Stuckenbrock by the site, MPLO

Residents have voiced their concerns over the safety of new homes which could be built on the on the site of an anthrax breakout in the 1960s.

Plans are in place to build 74 homes on land by Fenny Lane, Stoke Hammond, but objectors claim the field is not suitable due to the scare in 1963– when three cows were found to have died from the fatal disease.

Alan Stuckenbrock by the site, MPLO

Alan Stuckenbrock by the site, MPLO

Alan Stukenbrock and his father, who managed a farm by the land, found the cattle and dragged two of them back into the yard before calling for a vet.

Police closed the farm and cordoned off the surrounding area when the cause of the deaths was found, a number of other infected cows were shot and burned in a pit.

Mr Stukenbrock, 66, of Tyrells Road, was quarantined with his father for two days during the scare.

He told the LBO: “It was pretty horrific thinking back on it, we were terrified at the time.

“People came to the farm in protection suits and the government brought over coal and wood to put in a pit, which they used to burn the cows.

“The fields have not been cultivated since that time and I can’t see how you would conduct tests there–you could be testing four inches away from where anthrax is.

“It is not the sort of stuff you should mess around with.”

A spokesperson for the applicant told the LBO that independent consultants have been appointed to reassure residents that the development could go ahead safely.

He added: “No ground or environmental surveys commissioned to date have shown any risk of anthrax or other contamination issues, and environmental health officers raised no objection to the application.”

Aylesbury Vale District Council’s strategic development management committee discussed the plan on May 22 and deferred a decision to the development management manager for approval, subject to concerns about anthrax being allayed.