January 28, 2020 10.20 am This story is over 46 months old

Great Ponton school’s “existence under threat” from chicken farm, warns head

The head teacher has submitted a list of names to South Kesteven District Council

The head teacher of a school close to a proposed 270,000 bird poultry farm, says its existence is “under threat” after parents threatened to remove their children if the plans go ahead.

ADAS UK, on behalf of Stewart Adams, wants to build a six-shed farm at High Dike, in Great Ponton, however, animal rights campaigners have dubbed the plan a “chicken prison” and called on South Kesteven District Council to refuse the development.

Councillors decided to defer a decision on the proposals in January, saying they were minded to reject them.

Next Wednesday (February 5) they will be told that headteacher Keith Leader, of Great Ponton Primary School, has submitted a list of five parents who have threatened to take six children out of the school if the plans got the go ahead.

Mr Leader said: “We have a number of parents expressing concerns over the proposal of the chicken farm.

“Great Ponton School has been the heart of the community for over 300 years and this proposed development threatens its existence.

“We are a small, friendly, thriving school but this possible development will ruin that.

Site layout plans for the chicken farm.

“There are a number of health, safety and environmental issues that concern the parents, children and villagers and we feel as a community, it is horrifying that the profit of Moy Park is being put ahead of the welfare of the children and its community.”

He said there were other sites which were more appropriate and did not affect communities.

Councillors have submitted their own reasons for refusal, including concerns over the location of the site, odour and pollution, the effect on the ecology, sustainability and the impact on the character of the area.

The applicant denies any odour issues and says some of the councillors assertions regarding traffic and the impact on schools are “incorrect”.

ADAS UK said another school, New York Primary, already has a number of similar builds in close proximity and has not reported any issues regarding odour or other impacts.

Council officers have again recommended the facility is granted, warning that there would be an “extremely high” likelihood of appeal if they refused it. An appeal could cost the authority more than £150,000.

They said objectors had not given ‘defensible’ arguments or substantive evidence, while technical information was provided by the applicant.

Applicants would be likely to win an appeal.

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