Villagers’ fury over chicken farm plan for Sedgeford

Meeting of Sedgeford Parish Council ANL-150319-115331001
Meeting of Sedgeford Parish Council ANL-150319-115331001
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Wednesday night’s Sedgeford Parish Council meeting was attended by 80 villagers furious at a planning application for a poultry factory.

The proposal would house more than 300,000 chickens in eight hangars alongside the Peddars Way.

Campaigners say the facility would provide just two or three jobs but be one of the largest chicken units in England.

A campaign has sprung up in the village demanding “Stop The Stink”.

The strength of feeling persuaded the council to withdraw previous support for the application submitted by farmer, William Barber, who did not attend the meeting.

Tim Thurston, who lives in Sedgeford, said: “The potential impact will be on the surrounding homes, villages and countryside as smells, noise and pollution can travel some considerable distance.

“Increased traffic movement will have an impact on a wider area. Also although this is an agricultural application, the scale of it is somewhat akin to large scale industrial development, which would generally not be allowed in a rural setting.”

A member of the parish council representing the area around the Hempton poultry unit, which is half the size of the one proposed in Sedgeford, told the meeting: “We cannot enjoy the summer here as we are unable to sit in the garden on some days nor can we open the windows nor put washing out to dry.

“We know when it is time for the chickens to be picked up: the ammonia is so strong. They are usually collected up at night and the next day the house doors are opened.

“The ammonia is strong for at least four days. The waste which attracts flies and rats is piled up until somebody buys it.”

Villagers fear there will be lorries transporting live and dead chickens, 24 hours a day.

Resident, Jacquie Sindle, said: “The area is popular for holidaymakers including ramblers, cyclists and birdwatchers. The Peddars Way, a national trail, passes close to the proposed site.

“The poultry farm would be visible from the footpath and the smell, pollution and noise from the site could also have an impact on users of the footpath.

“The proposed operation could also have a detrimental impact on the livelihood of people connected with the holiday and leisure industry in the area, with holiday cottages, bed and breakfast establishments, a public house and a campsite nearby.

“If the operation creates unpleasant smells, pollution and/or a visual impact it could have a negative effect on tourism in the area, which is an important source of income for the local economy.

“If this is the case the reputation of the area as a holiday destination would be adversely affected.”