Plan for large poultry farm near York rejected over aviation safety concerns

The proposed poultry farm could have held up to 144,000 chickens.
The proposed poultry farm could have held up to 144,000 chickens.
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Plans for an intensive poultry farm on green belt land near York have been rejected by city councillors.

The proposed 7,900 sq ft farm would have been big enough to house 144,000 chickens on what is currently arable land near woodland, south of Rufforth village.

However, a full planning application from York-based H Barker and Son Ltd has been turned down by York Council.

The council received more than 900 letters of objection to the plans, including from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, York Gliding Centre and animal rights group Animal Aid.

The plans were originally recommended for refusal in 2016 but were withdrawn before they could be formally rejected.

Months later and a revised plan for a significantly smaller development was submitted.

The new proposal was felt to be acceptable in terms of its impact upon the openness of the green belt, as well as its visual impact on the surrounding landscape, according to a report by planning officers prepared ahead of a meeting of York’s Council’s planning committee this week.

Yet their report recommended that the reworked plans should be rejected, saying that the farm’s scale and location would give rise to “a significant risk” to the safety of aircraft and gliders taking off and landing at the neighbouring Rufforth Airfield.

“That adverse impact would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal,” the report stated.

One member of York Council’s planning committee abstained from the vote, but the rest of the committee agreed that the application should be refused.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Ann Reid, chairwoman of the council’s planning committee, said: “It was quite clear from the aviation consultant that the council used that the risk outweighed the benefits there might have been from having a poultry farm in that position.”

She said the plans had not been rejected over green belt concerns as that was not a valid reason for objecting to a proposal for agricultural use.

A spokesperson for H Barker and Son Ltd told The Yorkshire Post they did not wish to comment on the decision or on how it affected their future plans.