Plans withdrawn for intensive poultry farm near York

Controversial plans for an intensive poultry farm on Green Belt land in North Yorkshire have been withdrawn.

The proposed farm near Rufforth, North Yorkshire was for 288,000 chickens.
The proposed farm near Rufforth, North Yorkshire was for 288,000 chickens.

Councillors were due to determine whether to grant permission to York-based H Barker & Son Ltd for the proposal at a meeting of York Council’s planning committee today.

The proposed development was for a 15,800 sq metre farm to be built on land south of Rufforth village, with a capacity for keeping 288,000 chickens at any one time.

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Some 6,663 objections were raised to the proposal and an e-petition with 4,121 signatures objecting to the scheme was submitted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Animal Aid, York Astronomical Society and Rufforth Playing Fields Association were among others that raised objections. York Outer’s Conservative MP Julian Sturdy and ward councillor Chris Steward also objected.

Concerns related to animal welfare, the impact of pollution from the farm, increased traffic on unsuitable roads and its implications for the Green Belt, and planning officers had recommended that councillors reject the scheme.

In a report on the application prepared for York Council’s planning committee, Erik Matthews, the Council’s development management officer, wrote: “The application site is presently undeveloped and the proposal would result in the construction of a substantial built complex in close proximity to the Askham Richard Rufforth road and the boundary of Rufforth Airfield.

“Following the development proposed, the physical and visual relationship of the site to its surroundings and notably the mature woodland to the west and south west would be fundamentally altered to the detriment of the open character of the Green Belt.

“The potential safety risks arising from the proximity of an operational runway at Rufforth Airfield have not been adequately mitigated against and insufficient information has been forthcoming to demonstrate that both contaminated and uncontaminated surface water can adequately be disposed of. The proposal is therefore felt to be unacceptable in planning terms and refusal is recommended.”

Applicant, Edward Barker, would not be drawn on his future intentions for the plans after their late withdrawal was formally ratified yesterday. His agent said Mr Barker was considering all the concerns raised about the scheme before deciding what to do next.