Council rejects unit with 32,000 chickens

Campaigners are celebrating after a planning application to build a 32,000 chicken rearing unit was rejected.

Mr and Mrs Woosnam of Upper Gwestydd, Cefn Mawr, near Newtown, made the application for the large unit.

A consultation period took place, with a local group opposing the construction starting a petition to stop what they described as an horrific project in a totally unsuitable location. The petition gained more than 5,000 signatures and was rejected by Powys County Council.

Powys County Council refused the plan on November 24 due to a lack of information to demonstrate the development wouldn’t have an effect on the safe use of the highway network.

Another reason was there was insufficient information on the unacceptable impact on biodiversity and features of ecological interest.

The petition caught the eye of famous actor Peter Egan, who starred in the ITV drama series Downton Abbey.

Mr Egan, who played Hugh ‘Shrimpie’ MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire, in the programme, is an animal welfare advocate.

He took to social media to condemn the application and said: “They are appalling factories and anyone supporting this application should be ashamed of themselves.”

A statement from the campaign group says it hopes that the refusal will set a precedent for other applications.

It went on: “We hope your concerns will highlight the negative impact this type of development can have on the environment and animal welfare and influence other similar planning applications.”

The statement added: “An undecided planning application has been hanging over our much-loved haven of peace for nearly a year, due to strong objections from the Newtown Town Council, the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and Natural Resources Wales.

“Diversification of enterprises is often necessary for farmers, but siting this project in a beauty spot, a short walk from Newtown, the largest population centre in Powys, is clearly unacceptable.”

A spokesman for the council said the application was refused under delegated authority.

A number of applications have been submitted in Mid Wales recently as farmers look to diversify as Brexit approaches.

Currently five planning applications have been submitted to build chicken-rearing units across Powys.

Farms in Llanfyllin, Llanymynech, Newtown, Llanidloes and Rhayader are all applying for permission fromor Powys County Council, which, if granted, would see 150,000 chickens bred.

Mark and Helen Williams, who run a farm in Forden, recently opened up a unit that houses 16,000 chickens.

The couple said they made the move to diversify due to uncertainty on in prices of lamb and beef prices.

Campaigners admitted that farmers needed to diversify, but insisted the location of this egg unit was totally wrong.

A statement said: “An undecided planning application has been hanging over our much-loved haven of peace for nearly a year, due to strong objections from the Newtown Town Council, the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and Natural Resources Wales.

“Diversification of enterprises is often necessary for farmers, but siting this project in a beauty spot, a short walk from Newtown, the largest population centre in Powys, is clearly unacceptable.”

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