Councillors give green light to ‘smelly chicken farm’ at Foston despite strong opposition

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A poultry farm which could house up to 170,000 birds was given the green light on Tuesday despite fierce opposition from local people.

The farm, branded a “chicken shed” by opponents, will be built on land north of Foston. Opponents of the proposal included three parish councils - Foston, Marston and Long Bennington - while around 50 written objections were received.

Objections were made on numerous grounds - the impact on the Viking Way, the number of lorries coming to and from the site - but the main objection concerned the odour which would potentially waft over surrounding villages such as Foston and Westborough.

Christina Lees of Foston Coservation Group was particularly concerned about the impact on the Viking Way.

She said: “There will be no public benefit from this application that will outweigh the harm done to a recreational amenity enjoyed by the whole village.”

When asked what her “worst concern” is, Mrs Lees said it was the “smell”.

She added: “It’s likely to put people off. It’s not something you would like to have to suffer from.”

The applicant had previously withdrawn the application in 2011 after Lincolnshire Highways opposed the application due to the number of lorries which would travel through Foston.

However, the new application would see lorries travel along an access road linking Newark Hill with Fallow Lane.

As a result, Lincolnshire Highways removed its objection but the new transport plans do not find favour with the owner of Foston Lodge, Bob Harrison.

The new access track is yards from his home, which he described as “idyllic and quiet”, before adding: “I have a suspicion this proposal will shatter that.”

Another speaker, John Munroe of Foston, described the plans for the access track as a “dog’s dinner”.

Councillors were told the nature of the business would mean lorries travelling during the night between the poultry farm and Moy Park.

Robert Edwards, agent for the applicant, said: “700 people are employed by My Park in the area. This was instigated by Moy Park because of the need for additional capacity which will help maintain existing jobs and further grow.”

Coun Charmaine Morgan came out against the proposal saying it would “compromise the quality of life for the people of Foston and the farming community”.

She added: “On the county council’s own website we are saying we want you to come and visit here because it is so special and yet we are proposing to stick a smelly chicken farm right in the middle of it.”

Coun Morgan was supported by Coun Helen Powell in her opposition. However Coun Michael King, who spoke in favour of the proposal, accused the pair of “playing to the gallery”.

He added: “It’s easy to find reasons for stopping things but we have a duty to think about how we can allow things.”

The councillors voted by eight votes to two with two abstentions in favour of the poultry farm.