Villagers are calling for tougher laws to be enforced on a meat cutting firm which is no longer “appropriate” for its rural setting.

Chappel Parish Council says residents have become “distressed” by the expansion of Direct Meats, which has installed new factories, workshops and offices at its site in Swan Street.

The business, which employs 116 people, has been forced to apply for retrospective permission to keep the buildings after it was reported to Colchester Council in 2016 for breaching existing planning conditions.

Chappel Parish Council is fiercely contesting the application to retain the new buildings, with key concerns centring on the amount of traffic going to and from the site, as well as the noise and smell coming from factories.

Residents have also claimed foul water belonging to Direct Meats was polluting ponds in the village, however, this was ruled out by the Environment Agency after an inspection.

A statement submitted by the parish council adds: “The site has increased considerably without planning permission since the original planning application was granted.

“The parish council do not consider that the size of the current business is appropriate for such a rural setting.

“The Parish Council on behalf of residents wish to see this site regularised and certainly would like it stressed that the site should not be allowed to have any further development.”

Colchester Council has received 40 letters from the public objecting to the application.

Colchester Mayor Peter Chillingworth, who is a ward councillor for Chappel, is also objecting to the plans over fears Direct Meat’s site is now too large for its rural setting.

In its application, the meat firm insists new buildings are needed due to the size of its workforce and scale of operations.

It has also ruled out relocating to a new site, arguing it would be “economically unviable” and could see it lose its licence to operate in the UK.

Colchester Council’s planning committee will rule on the application, which was first submitted in March 2017, during a meeting tonight.