Huntingdonshire villagers fear chickens could outnumber residents 60 to 1
- Credit: Archant
A petition has been launched by a campaign group in Grafham to restrict the number of chickens housed on a newly-opened poultry farm.
Ambleside Farm, in Church Road, is currently home to 27,000 chickens which could increase to 69,000 – outnumbering the 1,200 population of Grafham by almost 60-1.
Villagers have concerns about the environmental impact, particularly the waste, and potential smell.
Ambleside Farm, which is owned by Bank Farm, a family-run business based in Kent, is 100 metres from the nearest house and about 200 metres from a campsite.
Church Road forms part of the cycle and walking path around Grafham Water.
Jim Carpenter, 37, who moved to Church Road from London two years ago, is one of the people backing the petition.
“We feel that the location of this farm is completely inappropriate,” he said.
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“The current chicken population is bad enough – there was a noticeable smell last weekend – but we believe there are plans to extend the number even further, possibly to 69,000.”
The site has been home to a poultry rearing business for some years, but the facility was closed down in 2010 amid complaints about the smell.
Doug Wanstall, owner of Bank Farm, issued a statement in the Grafham Gossip, the village’s newsletter, in which he attempted to allay fears.
“I appreciate that there have been problems in the past with this site and we are keen that these problems are not repeated and to assure local residents of that,” he wrote.
“All our farms are monitored by the Lion and Freedom Food Standards and we take animal health and welfare very seriously.”
Mr Wanstall confirmed to The Hunts Post that he had applied to DEFRA for a licence to extend the number of chickens to 69,000.
He said: “I hope we can happily co-exist and that we are given the chance to prove that we will run things at Ambleside Farm very differently from the previous regime.”
The petition has been sent to MP Jonathan Djanogly, Huntingdonshire District Council and DEFRA.
INFORMATION: If you want to sign the petition, visit www.change.org/defra-do-not-increase-the-amount-of-chickens-in-church-road-chicken-farm.