Sedgeford poultry farm application approved by west Norfolk councillors

Protesters outside West Norfolk Council_Picture.submitted

Protesters outside West Norfolk Council_Picture.submitted - Credit: Archant

West Norfolk Councillors this afternoon approved a controversial planning application which will see four chicken sheds built on the edge of Sedgeford.

The decision, made by members of the authority's planning committee, came following a site visit to the Whin Close location and despite strong opposition from the No to Poultry Factory campaign group.

During the meeting held in King's Lynn, Chris Crofts said he could not think of any valid planning reasons to object to the proposal.

'I know it won't be popular but if you want to do this job you won't always be popular,' he said.

Newcome-Baker Farms wants to build the barns, which were reduced from eight to four, accommodating around 180,000 birds.

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In a statement released after the decision, a spokesman said: 'We are mindful that many people are concerned about this proposal. However we would like to reassure them that the poultry farm will not cause any problems within the area.

'We will operate strictly within the IPCC license and be a 'good neighbour' within the local community.'

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Some of the residents who had attended the meeting were tearful after the debate.

Geoffrey Wareham, who accused the opposition group of 'bullying', said: 'I see no reason why this country should support foreign birds, we have no control over their welfare. I would like to see more of our own poultry produce in this country. That's what farming is about.'

However, Sheila Young said: 'This is not just intensive poultry farming, it's far more than that. These creatures being bred, they are living sometimes next to a chicken which has died and living in very crowded conditions. I have seen so many over the years. They are going to live an unnatural life, without daylight and fresh air.'

Avril Wright, who represents the Snettisham ward where the farm will be built, recommended refusal, saying: 'If this application is approved it's unlikely to stop - and we know it - at four sheds.'

Lucy Hare, who lives just 600 meters away from where the sheds will be built, said: 'It will have a massive impact on our quality of life. My family are farmers and when I heard about this I tried to not react and informed myself sensibly so I could make an informed decision.

'I researched and researched and researched like I think a lot of people have done. I would say 95pc of what I discovered was strongly negative about these units.'

The application was met with 5,500 signatures and 370 letters of objection before it was placed into the hands of the planning committee members, who voted for a site visit on Monday.

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