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Farm protesters pack Leighton Village Hall

Created on 22/09/2010 @ 00:13
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Nearly 100 protesters packed into Leighton Village Hall last night in opposition to plans for a 1,000 cattle dairy unit proposal for the village

They fear plans by Leighton farmer Fraser Jones to extend his business could spell the end of the village school. But Mr Jones says if his scheme is turned down it could put him out of business.

Campaigners against the scheme held a public meeting last night when the local farmer answered their fears about the effect of the proposal on the local school and the environment.
The planned site is next door to Leighton Primary School and governors, staff and parents are worried about the impact of a huge intensive unit, around 100 yards away, on pupils.
A banner outside the school, read: “Save Our School”.
Those in opposition to the scheme claimed it would lead to the end of the village school which is already suffering a year on year decline in pupils.
There were also fears expressed about the effect of such a development on the environment and the image of Leighton.
One who spoke in oppostion to the scheme claimed that the development would obscure views of the Leighton Church spire.
The meeting heard that the local community council had backed the proposal while the National Trust had voiced concerns that the view from Powis Castle would have a detremental impact.
Organisers of the meeting will now put together a structured opposition to the proposal to Powys County Council.
The plans – submitted to Powys County Council by NFU Cymru’s milk board chairman Maurice Jones and his son Fraser– would see his herd increase to 1,000 at his farm a mile from Welshpool.
Vegetarian International Voice for Animals (Viva!) has vowed to fight the plans and has provided its supporters with a pre-written template and encouraged thousands of people to submit their concerns to Powys County Council.
The letter said: “Factory farming has been shown time and time again to cause extensive suffering to the animals involved. It is horrendous to think that British agriculture would follow the American style of farming where greed for profit is put first and animal welfare is overlooked.
“Dairy cows are over worked to produce high milk yields whilst kept in unnatural environments and denied the ability to exhibit natural behaviours.
“They endure a constant miserable cycle of being forcibly impregnated and having their new born calves taken from them. In groups these large animals often suffer overcrowding, and disease can spread rapidly.
“This will increase the risk of bovine TB as well as a number of other infectious illnesses. As cases of bovine TB are increasing in Powys it seems inappropriate to introduce more cattle into the area.”
It said while Mr Jones’ plans were not on the same scale, it still represented a shift towards battery farming dairy cattle.
Mr Jones has earlier defended his £3 million investment at a public meeting attended by hundreds of villagers in Leighton Community Centre, outlining that he was currently losing money on every single litre of milk produced.
Once given the go-ahead by planners, his intention is to install a 72-point rotary parlour, together with a three-span 1,000-cow cubicle building, and associated silage and slurry storage facilities.
Our pictures shows an artist'simpression of the size of the proposed development and of the impact on the view from Powis Castle.
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