April 1, 2021 11.35 am This story is over 14 months old

Controversial chicken farm unanimously approved in West Lindsey

Animal welfare concerns trumped by consumer demand

Plans for a controversial egg farm with 32,000 hens in Laughterton have been unanimously approved by district councillors.

P A Arden & Son submitted plans in November 2020 for a free range poultry unit to be built on 16 hectares of land at Naylors Hills off Newark Road.

However, a decision was delayed in February 2021 after more than 40 objections were received and a PETA petition with over 13,000 signatures to stop plans was submitted.

On Wednesday evening 11 councillors voted in favour of the new egg farm in West Lindsey District Council’s Planning Committee.

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, will also planted.

In 2019, a new agricultural access road was approved in preparation for the egg farm.

George Backovic, a planning officer for West Lindsey District Council said the application has “excited a considerable amount of interest beyond the district.”

The poultry unit would be built on land off Newark Road. | Photo: Google Streetview

Cllr Mrs Jane Ellis said: “I am aware that this is a contentious application […] I’m also aware that animal welfare issues have been raised, but I realise this is not a material consideration. I understand this, but this is an emotional consideration.”

Councillor Mrs Judy Rainsforth said: “We always get a lot of bother every time a poultry farm rears its head, yet the majority like to eat chickens and the eggs.”

She added: “I’m afraid a few chickens strutting around in a farmyard just isn’t going to do it, we need these places.”

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.”

Aerial photo with layout plan depicting the unit with surrounding landscape.

Mr Oliver Grundy, the agent for the application said: “The farming operation will be associated with our recipes to make freedom foods, which seek to promote the highest animal welfare standards.”

It was said in the meeting that more jobs will be created on site and existing jobs on the farm will be supported.

Previously, objectors said the proposals would cause smells and increase traffic, noise and pollution, ruining the character of the area.

However, the plans say it will not have an effect on the air quality or highways.