PLANS for a 6,000 bird 'free-range' egg production unit in an area of outstanding natural beauty at Sollers Hope have been given the go-ahead by county planners.
The applicant, Graham Powell, wanted permission to construct a timber framed building to house 6,000 free range, egg-laying hens on his farm in the village.
The plans included a ground area of approximately 837 square metres with a ridge height of 5.36 metres.
Six new passing places – two along Church Lane and four between the junction of Church Lane with the C1298 and its junction with the B4224 to the west – were also included.
The application had previously been turned down in December 2012, when the applicant requested permission to house 12,000 birds at the site.
Concerns about the site included the impact of the development on the surrounding landscape, residential amenity impact – in particular to flies, light pollution, odour and noise.
Local ward member councillor Barry Durkin also raised concerns about the highways infrastructure leading up to the site.
And councillor Felicity Norman said she did not think the development was "appropriate" for an area of outstanding natural beauty.
"You can barely go round a corner in the county without smells of chicken manure," she said.
But councillor Mark Hubbard said he could not see a reason to say no to the development which he believed to be a "suitable size for the area" and councillor Dave Greenow urged the application be approved.
He added that diversification should be welcomed, with this particular product popular in Europe.
Members of the public had also sent letters in support of the application, citing diversification as well as the impact on landscape being perceived as acceptable.
Planners approved the application, subject to the signing of a Unilateral Undertaking which would restrict the type and size of vehicles feed stuffs and collecting eggs from the site to a 26-tonne vehicle.
Members of the public are able to inspect the application, officer's report and the decision made online at herefordshire.gov.uk