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Farm plan could see housing for 200,000 chickens
12:20pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
A POULTRY unit housing as many as two hundred thousand chickens could be built on a farm.
Plans have been submitted for four broiler units, each housing as many as 49,000 birds, on land at Town Farm, Castle Frome.
The applicants say the plan is in response to “existing marked demand for UK sourced poultry”, adding the birds would be reared for Hereford-based meat giant Cargill Meats Europe, formerly Sun Valley Foods.
“There is a strong demand for British-reared poultry products in the UK,” say planning documents submitted to Herefordshire Council on behalf of applicant Bill Davies, of EP Davies and Son, from Presteigne, Powys.
“British-sourced meat products typically benefit from a well-founded greater consumer confidence in animal welfare and food safety standards.
“Many poultry units are becoming too old for efficient production and are being phased out.
“Due to a significant lack of investment in this sector in the past decade, the units available to grow poultry are not sufficient to meet the growing demand.
“The proposed development is therefore needed to meet an existing market demand for UK sourced poultry.”
EP Davies says there is a need to diversify the farm as, being exclusively arable, it is currently heavily dependent on “highly volatile” arable crop prices and production costs.
A similar scheme in Upton Snodsbury, near Worcester, attracted a 500-name petition against the plan when it was submitted earlier this year.
The application was withdrawn but re-submitted at the end of July with the matter yet to be decided. The applicant is Edward Davies, also from Presteigne, but based at a different address to Bill Davies.
Should the Herefordshire plan go ahead, day-old chicks would be delivered to the farm from a Cargill base in north Herefordshire.
The birds are grown over a 42- day flock cycle at which point they’ll be sent to Hereford for slaughter.
There is then a 10-day turnaround period between flocks during which the units are cleaned and disinfected prior to the arrival of the next batch.
Herefordshire Council cabinet member Patricia Morgan said she couldn’t comment until she had seen all the facts.
EP Davies did not respond to a request for comment through its Oxfordshire-based agents.
A decision on whether the scheme can go ahead should be made by the middle of November.
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