Fowl proposal gets a unanimous rejection

A PROPOSAL to build a half-million bird battery chicken farm at Little Stukeley was rejected by Huntingdonshire District Council on Monday. Some 86 protesters carrying placards protested outside Pathfinder House, the council s headquarters, before the mee

A PROPOSAL to build a half-million bird battery chicken farm at Little Stukeley was rejected by Huntingdonshire District Council on Monday.

Some 86 protesters carrying placards protested outside Pathfinder House, the council's headquarters, before the meeting and then went inside to pack the council chamber.

Many were signed-up members of the action group, Campaign Against Lodge Farm Fowl Factory (Calfff).

The objectors are concerned about the smell, the impact on the environment, the extra traffic, possible water pollution and potential action from animal rights protesters. The farm would be near Huntingdon Racecourse at Brampton.


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Objections to the application from GC Field and Sons have come from Stukeley and Brampton parish councils, English Nature, the Wildlife Trust and Cambridgeshire County Council's archaeologist - as well as 807 individuals. Nearly 700 people also signed a petition against the proposal. This was the company's second application, the first having been withdrawn for the 12-broiler house farm.

After the decision, a spokesman for the company said: "We as a company stand alone against public opinion. We will have to consider our position."

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Before the meeting, the district council's officers, in recommendations to the council's planning panel, said the applicant's environmental statement was "particularly poor with a number of significant inaccuracies and omissions."

On Monday night, the planning committee heard from planning officer Sue Wheatley that there were concerns about odour, dust, noise and transport and that there was "a lack of, or inadequate information" on several matters from the application and "grave concern about the harmful, visual impact on the landscape."

Speaking to councillors before they took their unanimous vote to reject the plan, Councillor Michael Monk, vice-chairman of Stukeley Parish Council, said Stukeley had rejected the plan unanimously.

Councillor Mike Shellens, chairman of Brampton Parish Council, said his council had expressed "total opposition to this inadequate submission for this unacceptable scheme."

Cllr Shellens said after years of experience as an employee of Anglian Water, he was aware that half a million birds would need an immense amount of water and no provision had been made for storage of this water on site. He also asked where the dirty water would go, as it could upset the local water course, he said.

Brampton's district councillor, Peter Downes, said the farm would cause a "major blight" on the Stukeleys, Brampton and the western end of Huntingdon. He said: "We need to send a strong message of opposition, root and branch, to this unacceptable proposal."

After the decision, the chairman of the action group, Derek Pigg, said the protesters were pleased and the mood was upbeat but he thought the applicants would appeal, having spent £11,000 on their application.

"If they do, our group will get even bigger. Since the last application, we have formed an action group and we now have a chairman, a secretary, a treasurer and a fighting fund." He added: "People don't like the idea of chickens in cages with their heads sticking out over a food tray."

A spokesman for the district council said: "This was a good example of local democracy in action. People came and made their point in a dignified way and they were complimented by the panel.

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