Shropshire Star

Plan to build new farm for nearly a quarter of a million chickens could finally be approved

Plans for a “large scale” 230,000-bird chicken farm near Shrewsbury could finally be decided next week – after seven years of tussles over planning permission.

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The scheme, earmarked for North Farm near Felton Butler, would see four 109-metre chicken sheds built along with feed bins, a biomass store and a separate amenity building.

Shropshire Council’s planning committee will now decide the fate of the enterprise which was first proposed by applicants LJ Cooke and Son in 2017.

The plans have been recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers, after air scrubbers were added to the ventilation systems to deal with odour pollution and highways improvements were included to deal with site traffic.

“The farm business has made the decision to diversify into a poultry enterprise to support their arable enterprise. The poultry enterprise will integrate will with the current enterprises of the business,” said a planning and design statement filed by agents Roger Parry and Partners.

“The applicant wishes to enhance the business to create a sustainable future for themselves and their young family by moving into an area of food production that is unsupported financially by the Basic Payment Scheme.”

The committee reviewed the application in November last year but deferred it so that the applicants could provide an updated environmental statement and further reports on emissions and ecology on the site.

An odour report submitted by the applicant says elevated emissions would be “transitory and relatively infrequent” while the poultry buildings were being cleaned out every six weeks.

The proposal received 32 written objections from residents, who complained about the high number of poultry units already operating in the area along with concerns about traffic and pollution to the catchments of the Severn and Perry rivers.

A petition was also raised against the plans in 2020 over traffic concerns.

However Great Ness and Little Ness Parish Council expressed its support of the application, saying the business would provide “viable long-term employment” once it was up and running. The scheme also received three letters of public support.

“It is considered that the assessments submitted in relation to noise and odour impacts have satisfactorily demonstrated that the operation can be undertaken at this site without adversely affecting local amenity to an unacceptable degree,” said the report by Shropshire Council’s planning officer.

“Furthermore, the additional information which has been submitted, which includes highway improvements in the form of passing places, now demonstrates that the likely impacts on the highway network would not be unacceptable.”

Shropshire Council will decide on the plans at its Northern Planning Committee on Tuesday, May 14.