Planners call for chicken farm which would house 300,000 birds a year to be rejected

Elected members of a “business-friendly” council are being recommended to reject a proposal for a chicken farm as it would see residents disturbed while 300,000 live birds a year are transported through villages.

Hambleton District Council’s planning officers have stated the proposed “industrial-scale” chicken production facility on farmland near the East Coast Mainline close to Raskelf, near Easingwold, would also result in “a verysubstantial increase in ammonia release to the atmosphere”.

The recommendation to elected members who will consider the proposal on Thursday comes more than three months after the authority’s planning committee postponed making a decision on the scheme amid concerns residents of several villages could be overwhelmed by HGVs transporting live birds.

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Councillors called for further information from highways bosses after hearing Dinsdale Farming’s plan to create six 126m-long buildings to house 300,000 chickens close to Raskelf, near Easingwold, would generate 1,500 more HGV journeys a year through Tholthorpe, Flawith and Tollerton, to the A19 at Shipton by Beningbrough.

A chicken farm could be built in HambletonA chicken farm could be built in Hambleton
A chicken farm could be built in Hambleton

Councillors said enforcing the transport route would be “a nightmare” and no mention was made that the proposed chicken transportation route near the River Ouse has often been closed for extended periods due to flooding, which would leave the HGVs having to negotiate a junction on the A19 which has been branded an accident black spot.

Agents for the applicant have stated expanding its operations at its established farm beside the River Tees at Lower Dinsdale, south-east of Darlington, had been discounted, as it “would fail to meet the standards for protection of the amenity of neighbours”.

Dinsdale Farming has said the £6m development would contribute towards UK food security, reducing reliance on imports, and bring significant economic benefits such as job creation.

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The council has consistently worked to get Hambleton as a recognised location for business by meeting the needs of new and expandingbusinesses.

However, planning officers said it was clear that the proposed large-scale enterprise would result “in a substantial change from use of the land for arable cultivation”.

The officer’s report on the plans states: “The development would result in a very substantial increase in ammonia release to the atmosphere. Ammonia release and nitrogen deposition is a pollutant that has the potential to cause harm to the environment.”

The report added, if approved, the proposal would chicks, feed, grown birds and waste brought to and removed from the site by road, and that the lorries would continue driving through the villages throughout the night.

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The officer’s report concluded: “Taking all of the above into account it is considered that the proposed development fails to comply with the relevant Local Plan policies in terms of amenity and air quality. Although some weight can be afforded to the economic benefits of the jobs and spending associated with the development this does not outweigh the environmental and social harm caused.

“The number of HGV movements associated with the delivery of live birds from the site along the pre-determined vehicle route to processing facilities, that will continue throughout the night, will result in a new noise source that could cause sleep disturbance to residents of properties adjacent to the route and result in a loss of amenity…”

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