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Plans for 11,000 more chickens at bird flu outbreak farm

PUBLISHED: 10:42 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:21 21 January 2020

Plans have been approved for new units to expand broiler chciken production at Hoemfield farm, near Eye. Pictures: Simon Parkin/PA

Plans have been approved for new units to expand broiler chciken production at Hoemfield farm, near Eye. Pictures: Simon Parkin/PA

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Plans for new poultry units to expand production at a farm that experienced an outbreak of avian flu have been given the go-ahead.

Security measures at the entrance to Homefield Farm at Athelington, near Eye, following the bird flu outbreak in December 2019. Picture: Simon ParkinSecurity measures at the entrance to Homefield Farm at Athelington, near Eye, following the bird flu outbreak in December 2019. Picture: Simon Parkin

Six old breeder sheds at Homefield Farm, on Southolt Road at Athelington, near Eye, will be replaced by four modern units under plans approved by Mid Suffolk Council.

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PD Hook Hatcheries Ltd, which runs the farm, said the present site houses about 28,500 chickens, but the new units would take bird numbers to about 40,000.

In its planning submission, the company said: "The proposal will maintain the financial viability of this farm and other farms within the group and ensure a continued supply of eggs to the hatchery at Burgh Castle, helping to protect employment in the local area."

A restriction zone was placed around the farm after a "low pathogenic" strain of avian influenza - or bird flu - was discovered on December 10, prompting a mass cull of around 28,000 broiler chickens at the farm - which are bred for meat rather than egg production. The restrictions were lifted on January 8.

MORE: Residents inside restriction zone express shock at bird flu outbreak

Horham and Athelington Parish Council supported the expansion plans. But Worlingworth Parish Council objected citing concerns about traffic, disruption, noise and odour, adding: "A large industrialised unit of this nature is completely out of keeping with the quiet rural setting and would undoubtedly have a negative impact on local wildlife."


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