SHEDS for 240,000 chickens were granted planning permission near Bush Bank despite concerns over a “particularly unpleasant” odour.
The Herefordshire Council planning committee passed the project – which will see potato farm Garnstone Farms switch some of its operation to chickens – by 12 votes to two.
Councillor Liz Chave said: “If you’re not into on farmyard smells, don’t live in the countryside.”
It was, added local representative Adrian Blackshaw, a case of supporting the county’s agricultural industry.
While chicken waste was said to create a unique odour, planning regulations take into account those affected within 400m metres.
The only property within that distance is lived in by an employee of the farm, with the next nearest house 800m from the proposed sheds.
However the application drew signification opposition from the local community – recording more than 60 objections.
One representation from the parish council claimed rare newts in area enjoyed better protection from planning than local residents.
Councillor Felicity Norman said: “Chicken sheds have a particularly unpleasant, unusual smell because it comes from an intensive type of farming.
“And Herefordshire seems to be becoming saturated by it.”
In March the committee passed permission for four broiler units in Lyonshall in the face of similar public objection.
However that decision was recently overturned by judicial review and opponents of the Garnstone Farms project were hoping that this may shape the committee’s verdict.
The chickens raised on Garnstone Farms will be sold to Cargill – who recently invested £35 m in its Herefordshire operations.
And the Herefordshire chicken giant sent in a letter supporting the construction of the six broiler units.
The Cargill depo is around three miles from the farm, and the switch from potatoes will see fewer lorries on the A4110, an increasingly dangerous stretch of road that has seen two fatalities since Easter.
“It is far better for Cargill to get its chickens from Herefordshire than from Shropshire or elsewhere in the country,” said councillor Blackshaw.
“The industry has improved its conditions and ‘food miles’ and traceabilitiy of your food is of growing importance these days.”
In the application, Garstone Farms also made significant efforts towards other ‘green’ measures.
Major tree planting will take place – and timber will be grown on site to use in the farms burners – creating additional jobs on the farm and easing its carbon footprint.
Also, the manure produced will be used on site, spread around other part of the farm.