'Chicken prison' near Grantham to come back before planning committee
A controversial poultry farm plan will go back before a planning committee next week, and will hear from a headteacher that his school is "under threat".
Dubbed a "chicken prison" by campaigners, the 270,000-bird facility at Great Ponton was deferred by South Kesteven District Council's planning committee earlier this month, with members saying they were minded to reject the application.
Among objectors to speak at the meeting was headteacher of Great Ponton Primary School Keith Leader, who told the committee he knew of parents who would not send their children to his school because of a perceived health hazard.
At the committee meeting on Wednesday, members will be told that Mr Leader 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.
“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.
The application for a six-shed farm, off the High Dyke, was submitted by ADAS UK, on behalf of Stewart Adams, and is linked to poultry producer Moy Park.
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.
More by this authorDaniel Jaines, Local Democracy Reporter