Collingham could be home to 4,000 chickens

The proposed chicken farm is next to St Oswald's Church on Main Street, Collingham.
The proposed chicken farm is next to St Oswald's Church on Main Street, Collingham.

More than 70 objections have been entered against proposals to house 4,000 chickens on a field in Collingham.

Plans for a manager’s dwelling and a storage building where eggs will be processed on the land off Main Street were submitted to Leeds City Council (LCC) in December 2014.

Though the moveable huts for the chickens do not require planning permission, these larger, more permanent buildings are subject to agreement from an LCC plans panel.

Looking at the plans, Harewood Coun Rachael Procter (Con) raised several concerns, including the difficulty of caging hens while allowing use of the public footpath that runs right through the middle of the field, as well as the risk of flooding, which has occurred on the site in the past.

She said: “It is actually the same applicant that put in for a cemetery last time on this site and that was refused on highways, flooding, and public footpath grounds.

“There would be issues with the conservation area and it is on a floodplain, and there are environmental health issues of the vermin and smells and there are no plans for that. You would not be able to walk through the field.

“Right down to the planning issues, it is the wrong usage in the wrong location. Chicken farms, to me, are always in the middle of the countryside, not adjacent to dwellings.”

According to an agricultural appraisal prepared by consultant and rural chartered surveyor Tony Kernon, ‘birds would be housed off the ground and if the land flooded it would run through the shed without risk of birds being drowned or eggs being lost, as the perches and egg trays are off the ground’.

The report also said the land will be fenced into paddocks and the footpath will be fenced so that it can run across the land between two free range ranging areas.

Local resident Jeff Forrest raised issues with the application, echoing many people who have submitted objections to LCC.

“I think it is the wrong place where it is,” he said.

“It is next to an old and quite well used church and they are going to stick a chicken farm alongside it, which is not the best of places.

“It is land that gets wet and there was standing water over Christmas as I understand it, so to be honest I was mildly gobsmacked when I heard they wanted to put a chicken farm there.”

Environmental health was also a question Mr Forrest wanted to address.

He said: “Unfortunately you get smells however they are managed and you are going to have food and attract more rats to somewhere like that.

“It is also going to be a bit of an eyesore as you come into the village.”

The owner of the land was contacted for a comment but said he did not want to comment at this time.

However, Mr Kernon’s report said the buildings on the site ‘will be visible from the road, but will be agricultural in design, nature and use’.

The report continues: “The proposal is to run a free range poultry business from the farm. This will create jobs and employment.”