Intensive chicken farm could be built near Bridgnorth

An intensive chicken farm housing 220,000 birds could be built in the Shropshire countryside.

A broiler chicken
A broiler chicken

Plans have been drawn up for four poultry sheds to be constructed on a field at Upper Netchwood, near Bridgnorth.

The applicant says the site is in an isolated location, meaning the scheme will not cause any adverse noise, smell or visual impact – but this is disputed by the 45 people who have so far objected to the plans.

Those opposing the scheme say it will impact the people who use the privately-owned woodland and public footpath next to where the units will be built, with further concerns raised over traffic, pollution and wildlife.

Meanwhile, there have been 10 comments in support of the application, and Shropshire Council planners have said the development could be acceptable if mitigation measures are put in place.

A design and access statement by Roger Parry and Partners, agent to the applicant, says: “D. J. Riley propose the development of a broiler unit that will produce poultry meat for human consumption.

“As a worst case scenario the development will accommodate 220,000 birds.

“The proposed buildings will be accessed using the existing farm track. The site is accessed off the A458 and B4368 and an unclassified road.

“The appearance of the structures will be typical of many modern poultry buildings and therefore the development is appropriate within the context of the rural landscape.”

Among the objectors is James Hehir who owns part of the adjacent woodland, where his outdoor activities and bushcraft business Spirited Adventure is based.

He said: “The planning application states that the neighbouring woodland would screen the development from the public.

“This completely ignores the fact that this woodland is currently in use by us and our clients and would be completely overshadowed by this farm, during the construction and permanently upon completion.

“It also states that the only persons affected by the short distance view of the development would be those walking past using the right of way and bridleway, but this again completely disregards us and our clients as users of the adjoining woodland who use this woodland every day of the week.

“We object to the destruction of a wild habitat, as deer, foxes and badgers, to name only a few all utilise the woodland and neighbouring peaceful fields, as this will be lost to the noise, construction and running of large scale poultry farm.”

Supporters of the application argue that while the farm will not create any jobs it will boost the local economy through indirect employment and contribute towards the UK’s poultry meat demands, reducing the need to import lower welfare meat from elsewhere.

The pre-application advice letter to the applicant from planning officer Grahame French says: “The site is in a green field location, when linkage to an existing farm buildings complex would be preferable.

“However, it is generally well screened/ separated from residential properties and is remote from environmental designations.

“There have also been no objections received at this stage from planning consultees.

“It is therefore considered that any residual environmental impacts may be outweighed by the strong local and national policy support for agricultural diversification, provided the scheme incorporates appropriate mitigation measures.”

The application will be decided by Shropshire Council in due course.

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