COUNCILLORS will visit a farm near Presteigne to see for themselves whether a chicken farm development could have an impact on residents.

Members of the planning committee voted for the deferral on Thursday, July 4, by just one vote.

Richard Wilding, of Old Impton Farm at Norton near Presteigne, wants to build a pullet (young hen) rearing unit for 37,000 birds.

They will be kept there for 14 to 16 weeks before being removed and the process starting all over again.

The issues that concerned the councillors was around the site’s topography  and whether water would drain down hill from the units affecting water supply.

Cllr Heulwen Hulme (Independent – Rhiwcynon) wanted to defer the application so that photo montages of the site could be prepared.

“We want to have an impression of what this could look like in that area,” said Cllr Hulme.

Cllr Roger Williams (Liberal Democrat – Felinfach) was willing to back Cllr Hulme’s amendment on photo montages, adding: “I take this as second best.

“Photo montages can show anything, the only time you can really tell is actually see the site yourself.

“I know there is great reluctance from officers because it takes time and expense, but we are taking decisions on very important matters and  I think a site visit would be excellent.”

Planning officer Holly Hobbs answered: “I do not accept there’s exceptional circumstance for a site visit.”

Cllr Jon Williams, (Independent – Llandrindod East West), said: “It’s been suggested we have photo montages, but as we’ve seen in the past, you can see a nice picture but it looks totally different when we’re on site.”

Cllr Williams went on to propose deferring the application for a site visit.

Earlier in the meeting Lucy Thomas, spoke against the application, on behalf of the residents of Norton Manor Country Estate:  “I’m standing here today, not because I want to, but because I am terrified of what will happen if I don’t.

“The very real problem we have is with spreading the manure, the smell would be indescribable, and close all our windows and doors never to sit outside again.”

Miss Thomas added that the greater concern would be that diseases from the chickens in the manure spread on the fields could enter the water supply and effect nearby residents.

Farmer Richard Wilding, had told members that the chickens were needed to secure a future for the fifth generation of his family to farm there.

“With Brexit looming ever closer a poultry unit would bring much needed stability to my business,” said Mr Wilding.

He said that he already spread chicken manure on the land and having the units would mean he would not have to buy it in.

He said that when spreading manure a 50 meter buffer zone would be given to private water supplies and a 200 meter buffer zone for the spring that supplies Norton Manor.

“I have the same concerns about our own water supplies and don’t wish to jeopardise my family’s health or anyone else’s,” said Mr Wilding.