Broilers in a shed© FLPA / John Eveson/REX

A Wiltshire residents’ group Spitting Feathers has raised £5,000 for a fighting fund to oppose a planned poultry development by 2 Sisters Food Group near the village of Sutton Veny.

The application, which is for a four-shed development to house 179,000 birds, was first registered in September 2011, by agent James Whilding of Exeter-based Acorus.

At that time, the plan was to demolish four disused poultry sheds on the site and replace them with five new structures for 223,900 birds, with hardstanding and feed bins.

See also: Opposition mounts to Golden Valley poultry development

The application met all the statutory conditions, and won a recommendation of approval from the planning officer in charge of the case, who noted that it would not impact on the surrounding area and would benefit the rural economy.

But Wiltshire Council’s planning committee decided, in December 2012, to defer a decision, pending a site visit.

In particular, the application had attracted 140 letters of objection, including a 400-signature petition from Spitting Feathers, expressing fears about smell, visual impact, noise, traffic and the dangers to children on unlit roads.

Subsequently, the applicant agreed to secure the necessary environmental permit from the Environment Agency, prior to a final decision by the planning committee.

Revised application

“This permit was granted last month and the application has become live again,” said Mr Whilding.

“The application has been revised, reducing it to four sheds, with an upgraded ventilation system.”

But this has done nothing to appease local objectors, who have rekindled their campaign to put pressure on the planning committee ahead of its final decision.

According to the group, £5,000 has already been pledged to fight the “horror plans”.

“There couldn’t be a worse place for a factory farm of this size and nature,” said chairman, Will Owen.

“The proposals represent industrial-scale farming, not agriculture. 2 Sisters Food Group is showing contempt for village life.”

“The structure won’t be much bigger, will meet stricter environmental standards, will have less odour and incorporate the latest design principles.”
James Whilding, Acorus

Mr Owen said the campaign would be targeted at company managers and directors, as well as MPs nationwide.

According to agent Mr Whilding, the process has been “painfully slow”.

“The plans, submitted almost four years ago, are for an existing poultry site, not a greenfield site.

“The structure won’t be much bigger, will meet stricter environmental standards, will have less odour and incorporate the latest design principles.”

Golden Valley goes to appeal

Hereford County Council has refused planning permission for a two-shed broiler unit at Bage Court Farm, Dorstone in the county’s Golden Valley, citing visual impact as the reason.

“It is considered the proposal would adversely affect the overall character of the landscape which no amount of mitigation would overcome,” it said in a statement.

Planning agent Ian Pick said he would be lodging an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, which would then trigger a six-week consultation period, followed by a site visit and a final decision.

“I still believe we have a strong case,” he said.

The Golden Valley application attracted 379 representations, most of them opposing the development in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.