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200,000-hen facility put on hold

Created on 14/09/2018 @ 07:51
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by Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to build four intensive meat poultry units that would house 200,000 birds and described as a ‘factory in the countryside’ have been put on hold.

Councillors argued that the four units at Ystym Colwyn Farms near the A490 junction towards Meifod could be seen by people driving from the direction of Guilsfield and Welshpool.

They wanted the applicants to come back to the planning department with a detailed landscaping plan. Planning officers believed that this could be tagged on to the planning permission as a required condition.

But the farm has only recently gained retrospective planning permission for units to house 100,000 birds.

Cllr David Selby said: “This is a factory being built in the countryside. Because it’s for agriculture we have to look at it differently.

“I doubt we would be recommending a medium sized industrial estate in this area normally. This is a major development; I’m getting increasingly uncomfortable. I understand small farms need to diversify but there’s an existing poultry business.

“To use a copy and paste approach to diversification is entirely wrong.”

Cllr Huw Williams said: “Just an observation, but that factory could sit in an industrial park in the M4 corridor with no problem whatsoever, what is this to do with agriculture?”

Cllr Kathryn Silk is worried that the size of broiler units could house 30 per cent more chickens.

Cllr Silk said: “What’s to stop them putting in extra birds, has this been taken in to account? Who will keep an eye on that?”

Officers pointed out that the environmental permit issued by Natural Resources Wales was for a maximum of 340,000 birds.

Highways officer, Dale Boyington, answered: “I wish we could have road access like this at all poultry units. There’s no issue with capacity on the network, we’re happy.”

Cllr Roger Williams moved to defer the application and said: “This is a large farm in open countryside without much tree cover, I will be voting against this because there is no landscape plan on this application. The application is premature.”

Principal planning officer, Tamsin Law, said that conditions can be used on planning permissions to make the “unacceptable, acceptable”.

She said that the landscape plan could be made into a condition and refuse discharge until it was complied with.

Cllr E Michael Jones moved a second amendment to allow planning officers to deal with the application.

His amendment was not voted on as councillors voted unanimously in favour of deferring the application to wait for a landscaping plan.

The proposed units will operate a two-wave clear out with cockerels being removed at 36 days and the pullets (young hens) in 42 days, with an expected turnaround of about a week.

This could result in nearly eight crop cycles a year.

Agents on behalf of Ystym Colwyn Farms, Roger Parry and Partners, said in the design and access statement that the farm is diversifying the enterprise away from the traditional sheep flocks and cattle herds, due to the increasingly volatile nature of the prices associated with the red meat.

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