Broilers in a shed© Tim Scrivener

Plans for a 180,000-bird broiler farm in East Anglia have been approved this week despite a concerted campaign against the development.

West Norfolk councillors gave the green light on Thursday afternoon (5 August) following a visit to the site at Whin Close, Sedgeford, after 16 months of often heated discussions in the north Norfolk community.

Protesters, who submitted a petition signed by more than 5,500 people along with 370 letters objecting to the site, argued that the poultry farm would cause odour and transport issues in a region popular with tourists.

See also: Norfolk firm reveals broiler unit expansion plans

‘Positive contribution’

Newcome Baker Farms is behind the development, and director William Barber welcomed the decision. He said the council had recognised Norfolk was a mixed economy and that farming and tourism could both co-exist and make a positive economic contribution within the region.

Mr Barber acknowledged that many people were concerned about the proposal but stressed that the poultry farm would not cause any problems within the area.

“We will operate strictly within the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) licence and be a good neighbour within the local community.

“We would urge people who are concerned about this proposal to visit the major tourist attractions, towns and villages in Norfolk who have poultry barns right on their doorstep and see for themselves that there is little cause for concern.”

He pointed out that the planning process had brought better understanding about the farm’s proposal, with a senior councillor acknowledging that many people had been misled by information put out by campaigners opposed to the development.

‘Disappointed’

But Nick Skerritt, chairman of the No to Poultry Factory campaign, told Poultry World that he was hugely disappointed by the decision.

“This application is totally inappropriate for north-west Norfolk which is a tourist and retirement area and will be the first intensive poultry complex north of the King’s Lynn/Cromer road.

Mr Skerritt, landlord of the Sedgeford’s King William IV pub – just over a mile from the development, said he had concerns his business, which employs 20 local people, would be blighted.

“These sheds will be mucked out every seven weeks. I am very concerned about the smell and transport issues,” he added.