Docking parish council in poultry farm U-turn

Map showing the site of the proposed new Whin Close poultry farm near Sedgeford
Map showing the site of the proposed new Whin Close poultry farm near Sedgeford

Village officials have lodged an objection against a controversial poultry farm proposed for their area, just three weeks after they indicated they were in favour of it.

The change of heart from parish councillors in Docking came during a special meeting held at the Ripper Hall on Monday night.

In an email to borough planners following the meeting, clerk John Ward said: “After further public consultation, Docking parish council has reviewed its decision and now would like to register an objection to the plans. This decision is based on a majority vote taken at the meeting.”

Earlier this month, the council voted to support the plan for four new poultry sheds, which are expected to accommodate a total of around 150,000 birds at a time, on the old Whin Close site on Docking Road, Sedgeford.

But the move provoked a furious reaction from residents who claimed they were not properly notified of the meeting, which took place on the same night as a similar planning meeting in Sedgeford itself.

However, the council denied that, instead insisting that notice of the meeting was issued earlier than required in order to ensure residents were aware of the discussion.

More than 90 residents attended Monday’s meeting, where concerns were raised over the potential implications of the proposal put forward by Newcombe-Baker Farms.

One of them, Rebecca Lloyd, said: “Docking will gain nothing from this factory proposal and it brings only potential risks and dangers to our health and our children’s.

“There are no positives in potential pollution, stench and increased HGV traffic.”

But the developers have repeatedly insisted the concerns are unfounded and have accused campaigners against the proposal of spreading fear.

Following a similar vote in Sedgeford last week, the company said it remained confident the application would be permitted.