West Lindsey district councillors are set to approve a chicken farmer’s plans for an egg farm in Laughterton this week.
P A Arden & Son submitted plans back in November 2020 for a free range poultry unit to be built to house 32,000 hens on 16 hectares of land at Naylors Hills off Newark Road.
Plans were delayed in February 2021 after more than 40 objections were received and a PETA petition to stop plans was signed more than 13,000 times.
The unit is set to be 27m in width and 111m in length with a maximum height of 7.35m. 1,000 trees, including oak, are also proposed to be planted.
In 2019, a new agricultural access road was approved in preparation for the egg farm.
Council documents said Mr Arden’s application will allow his business to diversify “in order to address strong market demand for premium quality free range woodland eggs.”
“This will allow the business to remain economically viable and competitive,” they said.
“The development will also offer the collateral benefit of creating new jobs, thereby strengthening the local rural economy.”
It said the proposal would not have an effect on the air quality or highways.
However, objectors say the proposals will cause smells and increase traffic, noise and pollution, ruining the character of the area.
Geoffrey Cleworth said: “I am shocked that an application to house so many chickens close to a pleasant residential village has been submitted.
“In addition to the smells that this will generate, there will be much greater commercial vehicle traffic through the village on a road which already has significant usage from HGVs going to and from the Humber ports.”
The PETA petition was based on animal welfare concerns. It said: “Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing the UK needs is another animal farm.
“The proposed facility would likely be a breeding ground for bird flu and could pose an immense risk to public health.
“If plans for this farm go ahead, they’ll be forced to spend their unnaturally short lives crammed into a barren shed, made to lay eggs in appalling conditions, day after day, as the intense strain on their bodies likely causes them to suffer from osteoporosis and sustain broken bones.”
However, there have also been letters of support for the farm: “We need to support British farming and recognise more job opportunities that this will create, even more so now because of the current climate,” said Mark Johnson.
A decision will be made by councillors in West Lindsey’s Planning Committee on March 31.