MORE than 50 members of the public turned up to a planning meeting at Welshpool Town Council to oppose a 7,200 square metre broiler chicken unit in Frochas.

The plans, which are at pre-application stage, are for the building of a broiler installation and silos, vehicle access and other associated works.

The Planning and Development Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 16, was moved from the council chamber to the Assembly Hall to accommodate the 53 extra guests who attended.

A number of points were made including the site’s proximity to Welshpool town centre, Llanerchydol Hall and the Glyndwr’s Way footpath. Complaints were made about the consultation pack provided by Roger Parry estate agents.

Kristen Campbell-Morris spoke on behalf of Llanerchyddol residents living close to the proposed site at Frochas Farm, calling the location “totally unsuitable”. She said residential amenity, visual impact, noise, disturbance and outlook were among the reasons behind their objection.

She said: “The 7,200 square metre of sheds and silos will be built on a significant slope and will therefore be highly visible from Llanerchydol Park and the Grade II* listed Llanerchydol Hall, which would be less then 300m away.

“All surrounding properties and land could be seriously devalued which would devastate the area and many families. The industrial size poultry unit would also have a direct impact on walkers and tourists on Glyndwr’s Way, and is proposed to be built on top of two public footpaths.”

Ms Campbell-Morris also had concerns relating to the potential health impacts of the chicken farm. She said: “Human health is a major concern, as smells of ammonia, chicken manure and poultry dust would effect the community. Ammonia and poultry dust is categorised as a ‘substance hazardous to human health’ and is linked to respiratory diseases with potential for permanent lung damage. Children, the elderly or those with respiratory issues such as asthma and COPD would be especially vulnerable.”

At the end of her speech, which received a round of applause, Ms Campbell-Morris said: “The strong stench that intensive poultry units emit is a common complaint from residents around Powys, who complain about nauseating smells every day of the year, irrespective of the season or winds.

“Being only one mile from Welshpool high street and the famous Powis Castle, and only 400 yards from Dingles Gardens the sickening smells of chicken manure and increase in traffic could affect us all.

“High streets are already struggling up and down the country, and shops and businesses in Welshpool do not deserve this additional pressure which could push shoppers away. As the gateway to Wales, Welshpool tourism is a vital part of the local economy. A town needs many attractions to make it a tourist destination, but it only takes one offensive site like this to turn tourists and visitors away.”

A letter written on behalf of the owner of Llanerchydol Hall, Malcolm Barrett, was read out at the meeting: objecting “in the strongest terms possible”. The letter said: “Our objections will be based on, but not limited to, the following points:

- Development will be within 450m of the Grade II listed Llanerchydol Hall.

- Development will be visible and within 300m of Llanerchydol Hall parkland 

- Not all details as started on the Roger Parry & Partners website are accessible, therefore full disclosure of information required for pre-consultation has not been met.

- No details are given as to where the estimated 2,700 tonnes of manure will be stored or dispersed, the smell from which can be extremely unpleasant and should have been considered in the reports

- Numerous discrepancies, incorrect assumptions and misleading information in the report, assessment and statements.”

The letter ended: “In summary, we are of the opinion that the proposed development will adversely affect the amenity of Llanerchydol Hall and the surrounding properties, thus having a detrimental effect on the lives of the local residents and monetary value of the estate and residences.”