Parish Council response to Poultry Farm

Application Ref 18/00935/OUT 

Proposed poultry farm with on-site slaughter house,  Land north of Bulls Barn Farm, Kings Delph Drove, Farcet

Farcet Parish Council strongly recommends refusal and strongly objects to this planning application.

This application should be rejected due to no sequential test having been carried out, and it should be rejected due to loss of residential amenity due to odours, and because it will prevent residents enjoying their residences and gardens to the same level as they do now.

We dispute the grounds on which the decision on the last application was made as it is in contravention of the statement in “Determining a Planning Application – Advice Note 6” which states that –

“For other types of applications, where the Town/Parish Council’s recommendation is consistent with the officers’ recommendation, the application will also normally be determined under delegated powers. However, where the officer’s recommendation would conflict with or would not substantially satisfy through the imposition of conditions written representations received from a Town/Parish Council (where such representations are supported by material planning issues for the recommendation and are received within the stipulated timescale) the application will be referred to the Panel.”

The first application decision was delegated to an officer of the Council. The grounds did not satisfy the objections raised by the Parish Council and therefore should have been decided by the Panel.

We request that this application is referred to the planning committee so that the public can hear the debate and state their point of view. We also request that this decision takes full account of the objections raised by Farcet Parish Council and considers them for reasons of refusal.

We wish to make the following objections:

  1. There were three reasons for refusal of the first application:
  • The site lies within an area categorised as Flood Zone 3 and a sequential test was required. The applicant has failed to comply with this requirement and not made any valid points as to why it is unnecessary.
  • The original application included an on-site dwelling which was not allowed. This has been removed from the second application
  • Waste disposal – not clear whether this has been met satisfactorily or not.


2.In policy terms, the proposed Slaughterhouse is contrary to the provisions of the Development Plan. The             Plan does not provide support for Use Class B2 development in the countryside and therefore the                         application should be rejected.

  1. Nation Planning Framework Policy 2012- The Government sets out in in paragraph 6 of the NPPF that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to achieving sustainable development and that there are three dimensions to sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. The application fails to meet these, for the following reasons
  • The only economic advantage is to the owners. There is no economic advantage to the residents, nor any mention of employment opportunities for local people. The consumer and beneficiaries of the end product are stated to be in the Midlands and London. To save on further food miles, surely this development should be in the M6 corridor.
  • There is no social advantage to the v The policy states a development should support a ”strong, vibrant and healthy community…through accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being”. This development fails to meet these criteria.
  • The development would adversely affect the environment, causing odours to permeate the village which is close to this. There is also a big question mark re disposal of waste, innards, blood and dead chickens.


  1. Traffic: The vehicular access to the site appears to lack any detail. A site that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year would have more traffic movement than stated. The site is located in The Fens on a single track drove and there are no proper ‘passing places’ on this drove. Since the first submission of proposals in 2012 the condition of King’s Delph Drove has deteriorated with further subsidence, almost making the road unusable by the majority of road vehicles. Any increased HGV movement on this road as a result of this development would aggravate the situation and require ongoing maintenance by the Local Authority, which we are told have no money available for repairs. There is also a less than adequate junction onto Ramsey Road.

There is a strong possibility of increased traffic through Farcet and Yaxley which would offer a more direct route to the proposed destinations. Main Street, Farcet already struggles with the HGV and farm traffic using this road, given the amount of on street parking. This would provide an adverse social and environmental impact for residents. This does not provide a social or environmental benefit for the residents of Farcet. Although the application states roads through the village will not be used, this is the most direct access to the A1. Who will police adherence to this undertaking?

There is a requirement to make plans for dealing with emergencies like fire or flood for housed poultry. It is difficult to see how animals could be moved off site in an emergency as access to this site is somewhat limited.

  1. Odour: The Applicant’s Environmental Report confirms that the vast majority of Farcet will be affected by odour, this contradicts the REC ltd opinion that likely impact is ”considered not significant”. How can any odour which was described by REC as ‘moderately offensive’, be classed as insignificant? The model used for determining this impact was based on SW winds and does not take into account winds from other directions that would and frequently do affect Farcet. The direction of wind from chicken farm to village would be mostly in the summer when warm fronts sweep up from the continent. This would be when the weather is at its hottest, the smell at its worst, and when residents most want to enjoy their outside space.

This process falls under the classification of “Intensive livestock rearing” and takes no account of the slaughter process which, given the amount of blood and offal being created  which will in all probability come under the classification of “Processes involving decaying animal or fish”

The predictions are based on the assumption of certain measures being in place during normal operation.  Every week the doors of the sheds will be opened to remove 16,000 chickens together with the excrement they have generated. This will cause a huge increase in the level of odour escaping.

DEFRA state:

Odours may be perceived as pleasant or unpleasant. The main concern with odour is its ability to cause a response in individuals that is considered to be objectionable or offensive.

Whilst there is often agreement about what constitutes pleasant and unpleasant odours, there is a wide variation between individuals as to what is deemed unacceptable and what affects our quality of life.

In our case the variation between individuals as to what is “acceptable” is that the people who do not live here are saying it is acceptable but the people who do live here are saying that it is not.

We quote the Guardian article of 19th May 2015 by George Monbiot – “(Chicken farms) inflict noise and dust and stench and traffic on quiet corners of the country. Because everything is automated, they employ few people, and those in hideous jobs: picking up and binning the birds that drop dead every day, catching chickens for slaughter in a flurry of excrement and feathers, then scraping out the warehouses before the next batch arrives.

The dust such operations raises is an exquisite compound of aerialised faeces, chicken dander (dead skin), mites, bacteria, fungal spores, mycotoxins, endotoxins, veterinary medicines, pesticides, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. It is listed as a substance hazardous to health, and helps explain why 15% of poultry workers suffer from chronic bronchitis.”

And from Earth and Space Science News –

“Across the world, large-scale livestock farming has expanded rapidly in recent years. However, new scientific evidence shows an association with increased human health issues in both farmers and neighboring populations. A commentary by Smit and Heederik [2017] recently published in GeoHealth explores how viruses, bacteria and air contaminants derived from livestock farming cause respiratory health problems in humans.

Livestock farms – particularly poultry and swine barns – emit large amounts of dust particles from manure, bedding material, straw, animal feed, feathers, skin flakes and hair. The dust may be contaminated with bacteria and viruses that are mostly harmless for humans, although pathogenic microorganisms such as avian influenza virus or Coxiella burnetii, the bacterium causing Q-fever, can under certain circumstances be found in the air near farms.”

There are numerous other examples on the internet of communities complaining about the detrimental smells produced by this type of operation.

  1. The development is proposed to be constructed 50m from the nearest dwelling. The recommendation (from the Environment Agency and the Town and Country Planning General Development Order) is that the site should be 400m from the curtilage of residential premises. This is clearly not that case for this development site and is therefore extremely likely to become a nuisance neighbour to existing local residents.
  2. The proposed development states the surface water runoff from this slaughterhouse will be to a connection to the local Board’s drain. The Parish Council is concerned that the runoff may permeate into other water sources and cause contamination. We would want to avoid seepage into the arable land and waterways adjacent.
  3. The development would fall in Flood Zone 3. Should there be such a flood, the level of contamination from this business would have catastrophic effects on the environment.

Farcet Parish Council

UPDATE: Application for poultry farm

18/00935/OUT- Land North Of Bulls Barn Farm Kings Delph Drove Farcet- Proposed poultry farm with on-site slaughter house

A revised plan has been submitted to Hunts DC for outline planning permission for a poultry farm (planning number above)

If you submitted a response to the previous plans, you will need to RE-SUBMIT your comments to Huntingdon District Council.

The following link will direct you to Huntingdonshire District Council website planning, where the plans can be viewed and comments submitted:

Futher details on Farcet Slaughter House

Farcet Parish Council contacted Huntingdonshire Planning department regarding the recent decision to refuse the planning application as it made no reference to the concerns raised by residents and the Parish Council, in particular access and highways safety, traffic generation, noise and disturbance, pollution from run off and disturbance from smells.

The following response was received:

The concerns raised by residents and the Parish Council on access and highway safety, traffic generation, noise and disturbance, pollution from run off and disturbance from smells were carefully considered by the Council in consultation with statutory and non statutory consultees.  These matters are addressed in the accompanying Delegated Report that I attach for your information.  The decision notice lists only the reasons for refusal, so it makes no mention of these issues because they did not form reasons for refusal.

I do appreciate that substantial public concern was expressed over the highway safety, pollution, and noise and odour impacts of the proposed Poultry Farm, and why disappointment is expressed that the application was not refused for those reasons.  However there are good reasons why the application was not refused for those reasons, which I will explain.

As a basis for decision making, the Council is required to determine planning applications on the evidence available and on an objective analysis of the impacts of a development.  In this case, expert consultees advised the Council that the highway and pollution impacts of the development would be acceptable or could be made acceptable through planning conditions that control or limit the development.

In terms of highway safety and traffic generation, no objections were raised by Highways officers at the District Council and County Council.  The reasons for this are explained in the Delegated Report.

In terms of noise and disturbance, pollution from run off and disturbance from smells, the proposed Poultry Farm would require an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) permit from the Environment Agency in order to operate.  This is a separate process that should not be duplicated by the planning process.  In deciding whether to grant an IPPC permit, the Environment Agency will consider these impacts.  The purpose of the permitting regime is to place the highest levels of protection on the operation of the proposed Poultry Farm to safeguard the occupiers of nearby properties and the environment during operation.   This means that even if an appeal was allowed by a Planning Inspector, the proposed Poultry Farm could not lawfully operate without an IPPC permit from the Environment Agency.  No objections were raised by the Environment Agency or the District Council’s Environmental Health Officers.  The reasons for this are explained in the case officer’s report.

The Council is not duty bound to agree with the advice given by consultees, but it would need compelling evidence of its own to depart from, and outweigh, the advice given by expert consultees.  In the case of this application, whilst there was substantial public concern over the impacts of the proposed Poultry Farm, the Council has no substantive evidence of its own to demonstrate at an appeal, that the proposal would have unacceptable impacts on highway safety, noise, pollution from run-off or odour.   Therefore it could not reasonably depart from the advice given by consultees and refuse permission on these grounds.  To do so would likely lead to these reasons for refusal being dismissed as unfounded by a Planning Inspector and such unreasonable behaviour would leave the Council liable to pay the applicant’s costs in challenging an appeal on these reasons.

In terms of the reasons for refusal summarised on the Decision Notice, I can advise that a flood risk “sequential test”, if properly undertaken will likely demonstrate that alternative sites are available at a lower risk of flooding for the development in the area it is intended to serve.  The other 2 reasons for refusal are capable of being addressed by an amended application and submission of a legal agreement to pay the contribution to provision of wheeled bins.

Grass Cutting Update

The grass cutting contract is due for renewal and the quotation will be discussed at the next Parish Council meeting on the 6th February 2018.

A schedule of cuts will be available on our website once we have received it from the contractor.