Farm's livestock building set for approval despite fears over pigs

A controversial bid to build a new livestock building at a Yorkshire farm has won council officers' backing.

Farmer Robert Wade wants to create additional covered livestock housing at New Laithe Farm, off Station Road at Cross Hills near Keighley.

The building would contain 366 square metres of internal floorspace at the recently-constructed farmstead.

Initially, the farmer was seeking permission for an extension to the existing buildings which would have resulted in a long 78-metre elevation facing housing, but the plans were later revised.

The original application drew 28 letters of objection and a further letter has reiterated the original objections since the latest plans were submitted.

But a report to be considered by Craven Council's planning committee on Monday, concludes the proposed development is in keeping with national planning guidance and the policies of the Craven District local plan.

The report says that the application site abuts an existing group of farm buildings on an established farm holding.

It adds that the proposal would, in principle, constitute "appropriate development in the countryside" and the proposed livestock building, in its amended form, "would not be so detrimental to the character and appearance of the surrounding area or the general amenities of the locality" to justify withholding planning permission.

Critics fear that the proposed development will lead to the site being used more "intensively" for keeping pigs, which will worsen what they claim is "the nuisance caused by the keeping of pigs in the existing buildings."

They have raised concerns about "disturbance created by noise and smell."

The report says: "While some residents accept that living on the edge of the countryside means that there will be some odours from livestock (and the keeping of cattle is not a particular concern), the fear is that the proposed development will lead to the site being used more "intensively" for the keeping of pigs and that this will make the current nuisance problems even worse."

Other issues raised by objectors include the likelihood of more flooding and pollution caused by activities inside the additional building.

People had also raised concerns about the visual impact of combining the existing and proposed buildings together.

But the report also goes on to note that the revised plans form a "potentially less visually intrusive extension to the existing farm facilities compared to the originally submitted application scheme for one 'long' elevation."

It says that separating the new building from the existing livestock buildings and siting to the north of them meets the suggestions made in a number of representations from local residents.

The report says: "The revised siting allows the new building to be better assimilated into the present building group and thereby have less visual impact on the surrounding area. The applicant has also indicated that tree planting as landscape screening would be provided and this can form the subject of a planning condition."

It says that the agricultural building will not have an adverse impact on the character appearance of the existing farm complex or the visual amenities of the area.

The report also points out that 200 metres separate the nearest properties from the existing livestock buildings and that under the revised proposals the new building will be located beyond the existing buildings – a further 35 metres to the west – and be screened by them.

It says there is no clear evidence that the proposed livestock building "would lead to continuous pungent smells that would be clearly harmful to local residents.

Similarly, noise from housed animals in the location proposed is not held to be so significant a problem as to cause a regular nuisance."