A PLANNING application for a 150,000 broiler chicken farm at Frochas near Welshpool, has been rejected

The scheme by farmer John Owen had received 354 objections as well as Welshpool Town Council rejecting the proposal.

It had received nine letters, and 14 comments of support

At Powys County Council’s planning meeting on Thursday, February 4, councillors discussed the application.

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan (Glantwymyn – Plaid Cymru) pointed out that the manure spreading would go right up to the edge of the nearby Dingle Nursery and Garden centre.

Cllr Vaughan, said: “There are legitimate concerns raised by the Dingle Nursery which I totally agree with, it’s a major, highly respected employer, and an outstanding business in the area.

“As well as trying to encourage new enterprises to develop, we should not be doing that at the detriment of existing enterprises.”

Planning officer Tamsin Law, pointed out that Mr Owen already spread chicken manure on the site, and that the main change is that he would be spreading manure from his own chickens.

Cllr David Selby (Newtown Central – Liberal Democrat) said: “It’s near several important listed buildings, it’s near tourist walking routes.

“It’s next to a major successful business and tourist site and it’s access is down a relatively narrow road.

“In my judgement it doesn’t sound like the right site to me.

“If something is in a valley it still has an impact on the overall landscape appearance, and I cannot agree that this is anything other than over development in this particular location.”

Cllr Emily Durrant (Llangors – Green Party) added that the economic viability of farming is an important issue, but that having a poultry shed “is not the only answer.”

“The benefit for the one cannot outweigh the needs of the many, you have serious heritage, amenity and landscape impacts, I don’t think they balance out,”  said, Cllr Durrant.

Cllr Roger Williams (Felinfach – Liberal Democrat) told the committee it was difficult making a decision without seeing the site for himself.

But he understood due to Covid-19, site visits were unlikely to happen for many months,

Cllr Phil Prichard (Independent – Welshpool Castle) proposed refusing the site, which was seconded by Cllr Vaughan.

A dozen (12) councillors voted to refuse the application, four against and two abstained

Committee Chairman, Cllr Karl Lewis and lead profession planning officer, Peter Morris, will finalise the wording of the decision, which is based on the application having a negative affect on the visual impact of the landscape.

Earlier, as objectors and supporters were allowed to speak on the application, David Hamer one the owners of Dingle Nurseries, said: “It brings us no pleasure to object to the this application, we’ve known the Owen family our entire lives and have been our neighbours for generations.”

He explained that having the development so close to the nursery and gardens would “inevitably” mean airborne pollution and smells would adversely affect the business.

He believed that customers would be put off, resulting in loss of business and jobs.

Applicant and father of four John Owen said:  “It has never been a more important time for the UK to become self sufficient in the food we supply.

“Family farms need to diversify and be able to create opportunities for future generations.”

Agent, Gerallt Davies, said: “The site is in a natural valley, the buildings can’t be better screened.”

He also pointed that last monthe Natural Resources Wales had published new stricter targets for phosphate levels in rivers that are Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).

Of the nine in Wales, two flow in Powys, the rivers Wye and Usk, but they are miles away from Frochas.

Mr Davies said: “This location is not in the Wye catchment, therefore the phosphate issues you may have heard of is not a concern.”

He added that planning applications that were refused could be “susceptible to an appeal.”