PRESTEIGNE Town Council is not objecting to plans to build a shed to house 16,000 chickens on Stonewall Hill but has said is does not want the farm’s traffic passing through the town.

It has told Herefordshire planners it is happy with the proposed vehicle movements, including those disposing of waste, so long as they stick to the stated routes and do not pass through either Presteigne or Norton.

It commented: “The route from Stapleton through Presteigne town is unsuitable for such traffic and the section along Broad Street and around the corner into Hereford Street is particularly difficult for larger vehicles with traffic often being held up at the corner as it is difficult for vehicles to pass at this point. The Town Council requests that this is a condition of any permission granted.”

The plans submitted by RGK Hodnet & Co, of Willey Cottage Farm, Willey, are for an agricultural building for free range egg production to house 16,000 birds, together with associated feed bins and an egg packing and storage building. Herefordshire Council is inviting comments on the application (P174246/F) up until Monday, January 8.

The 200 acre site is farmed in partnership by father Ken Hodnet and his son Tim, together with Tim’s wife Jacky and their son George, with the existing enterprise consisting of 750 breeding ewes and a suckler herd of 20 cows. They plan to maintain their current stocking alongside the proposed new free range egg unit and export any excess manure to local farmers.

An assessment by consultants suggests the plans will generate an average of nine vehicle movements per week, involved in deliveries and collections; while the unit will be staffed by existing family workers, who live on the site, and so no additional staff traffic will be generated. All commercial vehicles will be routed to and from the A4113 at Knighton, via Llanshay Lane.

Border Group Parish Council, which covers the Willey area, has supported the application, but asked for an extension to the consultation period to allow members of the public and parish council more time to read all the associated documentation.

The council has also asked for conditions to protect against light pollution and air pollution, for water quality to be protected in the nearby Lime Brook and for note to be taken of any archaeology during construction. It also points out that Llanshay Lane can be impassible during bad weather and wants Herefordshire Council to ensure the proposed access route is complied with.

The application has attracted a number of objections from local residents, as well as a similar number of letters in support of the applicants.