Villagers are spitting feathers over hen farm plans

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Residents of a hamlet near Over Kellet say plans for a third hen farm on land next to their homes would turn the area into an “chicken industrial estate”.

An application has been submitted to Lancaster City Council for a shed which could house up to 32,000 free-range hens to be built in a field at Lower Addington Farm off Kirkby Lonsdale Road, which runs between Halton and the Redwell Inn.

The same plan was previously rejected by Lancaster City Council for reasons including the size, siting and design of the building.

Officers also felt the scheme would have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the landscape, including “the incongruous and urbanising impact on this rural road and the significant harm to the established woodland belt.”

Residents at all nine properties in Swarthdale have objected to the plans, saying they would be overbearing and too intensive for an area so close to the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Over Kellet Parish Council has also objected to the scheme, saying it would have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the landscape, would increase traffic and also raise the risk of contamination into the nearby beck.

Ryan Cook, who lives with his partner Kate Jackson in the hamlet, said: “If the application was rejected once, how can it be considered a second time? You would be able to see it from far and wide. A lot of people come and walk up here and the visual impact would affect everyone.

“There are already two other barns housing 32,000 hens each. This would make it one of the largest intensive chicken farms in the country.”

Kate’s father Dr Robin Jackson has supported the objections, saying: “To be frank, it proposes the erection of a stinking intensive poultry factory the size of two football pitches and visible for miles around, and across the road from the AONB. I cannot envisage a more inappropriate enterprise for this location.”

Another resident, Cameron Macmillan, wrote an objection to the council saying: “This beautiful piece of countryside is fast being turned into a chicken industrial estate.”