Cornwall has its first planning application for an industrial mega farm, fondly called by the applicants a “Centre of Excellence”.
The reality, far removed from the “Centre of Excellence” concept is a proposal for 4 multi-tier units with a total of 112,000 laying hens.
The application is designed to give a picture of healthy hens basking in the mild Cornish climate whilst trotting off to pop an egg and resume their ranging whilst enjoying the unpolluted Cornish environment.
No one has provided information about how many hens will be outside at any one time, sometimes its none, sometimes it could be 10/20%.
The proposed site is at Nancegollan, in an area of open countryside with no existing farm buildings or infrastructure, the units will sit on the brow of a small hill. Residential properties will surround the 160 acre site boundary which is a mere 500 odd metres from the village of Nancegollan.
The lower costs of production and the higher achievable profits have made this design of multi-tier units very popular amongst egg farmers, its high rise living for the “free range” hens.
Planning constraints have been overcome by going up instead of out, thereby using less floor space.
The reduced labour requirements along with the net gain in profit will see an increase in the amount of planning applications for these types of unit.
The planning application (PA17/04129) was validated on the 12th May 2017 since this date local residents have employed the services of a planning consultant and a landscape impact specialist, they have highlighted many faults with this application and given their advice to the Council to ensure a fair process but this has fallen on deaf ears.
The issues raised include the following:
1, the lack of neighbour consultation, local residents were not informed about this application, and the properties that bound this site are between 1 metre and 87 metres from the hen ranging areas.
2, the landscape visual assessment was supposed to incorporate a 5 km zone; the applicants did this at 3km.
3, the transport statement does not quantify the volume of vehicle movements and contradicts itself
4, the manure disposal plan will not work as one disposal site can only legally take 345 tons per year and the proposed facility will produce 90 tons per week. The other disposal site is a green waste company near Hayle where the residents are suffering the smell from the St Erth sewage treatment plant; this additional smell will only increase their misery.
5, the site is situated at the start of the river Hayle, it suffers from severe run-off, pollution will enter this river system and cause a potential disaster.
6, the site will generate heavy traffic, the proposal is endorsed by highways for the articulated lorries to enter the B3302 via the blind White Horse Cross Roads, this is a dangerous access point and does not have the width to take such large vehicles.
7, there are 5 dwellings at the base of this site, all of which suffer from this site’s run-off, all have a private drinking water supply that will suffer contamination.
There many issues about this proposal, due to the inaccurate submission and the amount of alterations to the application. Local residents are asking the council to insist on a new application that gives a true and honest idea of what the applicants are trying to achieve.
Many of the issues we face are similar in nature to those faced by other groups within Too Much Slurry (noise, smell, traffic, uncertain health consequences and an indifferent Local Authority).