Plans for a new 16.2ha (40 acre) free range laying unit in Shropshire have been refused by a council, despite being supported by planning officers.

Producer Richard Tomkinson had sought outline planning permission from Telford & Wrekin Council for the 16,000 bird unit near Telford.

The plans were approved by planning officers, but the decision was overturned by councillors following a series of complaints from local residents.

Council leader Andrew Eade told councillors: “The effects of the smells in hot weather would be dire and this decision will have a major impact on the lives of people living nearby.

“The 16,000 chickens will deposit a considerable amount of excrement, some of it within 20m of people’s homes.”

After the meeting Mr Tomkinson said he would be seeking to take the matter further.