A PROPOSAL to build chicken sheds ‘the size of football pitches’ on a farm has caused alarm among villagers.
Residents packed out Colwall Village Hall on Thursday (December 4) to air their concerns about the plans for four broiler units at Chances Pitch.
Their main fears surround the potential smell from the buildings which would be able to store up to 200,000 chickens in total.
But concerns were also raised about the fact the development will be situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and worries were also expressed about the number of HGVs going through Ledbury to the site.
The plans surfaced when the applicants Mr P and R Houlbrooke submitted them to Herefordshire Council in October. Since, residents have formed the Colwall Action Group – Say No Chance campaign which has prompted more than 500 objections to the council.
Tracy Elgar from the group, said: “The scale of it is going to be absolutely enormous. Each shed is the size of a football pitch, you will be able to see it from the British Camp.
“The major thing is that it is in the AONB, of all the sites in Herefordshire why have they chosen this one?
“This is going to be almost as big as Morrisons just plonked on a field.
“If it goes through it will open the floodgates, there are other farmers waiting to see the result of this.”
The group has questioned the measurements detailed in the proposal and are concerned residents will be too close to the sheds and not sheltered from the odours.
Tracy added: “This has been very upsetting for a lot of people, the smell is going to be horrendous. We are trying to be sensible about this but it’s just not right in this location.”
The Observer put the views to Ian Pick, representing the applicants, who tried to quell the concerns.
He assured the measurements used were correct and said there would be technological methods to keep the smells down which had been approved by the Environment Agency.
Mr Pick also stated that Herefordshire Highways had not objected to the plans arguing the level of traffic generated by the development would be ‘very low’.
He added: “The sheds will be partially visible from British Camp but they are farm buildings in the countryside and there are a number of farm buildings already visible from British Camp.
“We have undertaken the appropriate consultation with the local authority and Environment Agency and believe the site is appropriate and can operate without a detrimental impact.”
Comments can still be submitted to Hereforshire Council before December 18. To see the plans visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk and use the reference 143028/F on the planning search section.