ONE OF the UK’s finest comedy actors, who starred in Ever Decreasing Circles and appeared in ITV period drama Downton Abbey, is backing a campaign to stop a planning application.

Peter Egan has backed a petition which has gathered nearly 3,000 signatures against an application to build a 32,000 chicken unit near Newtown.

The application has been made by Mr and Mrs Woosnam, of Upper Gwestydd, Cefn Mawr.

An extended consultation period ended last week and a group opposing the application has started a petition to stop what they have described as “an horrific project in a totally unsuitable location”.

Mr Egan condemned the application on social media: “They are appalling factories and anyone supporting this application should be ashamed of themselves.”

Five planning applications have been submitted to build chicken rearing units across Powys.

Farms in Llanfyllin, Llanymynech, Newtown, Llanidloes and Rhayader are all applying for permission for Powys County Council, as farmers look to diversify because of Brexit fears.

A statement on the online petition said: “An undecided planning application has been hanging over our much-loved haven of peace for nearly a year, due to strong objections from the Newtown Town Council, the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and Natural Resources Wales.

“Your signature on this petition will help prevent this horrific project being sited in such a totally unsuitable location.”