Chicken shed decision delayed

THE decision on a controversial Peeblesshire chicken shed application by Scotland’s largest egg producer has been postponed.

After lengthy discussions, Scottish Borders Council’s planning committee decided on Monday to make a visit to Glenrath’s Whim Poultry Farm at Lamancha near West Linton before ruling on the bid.

The 116-metre long facility is needed by Glenrath in order to meet an EU directive which banned the use of battery cage production for laying hens after January 1 this year.

The new unit would house around 170,000 hens, and with the conversion of two other sheds on the site, the overall capacity at Whim Poultry Farm would rise 60.5 per cent from 204,400 to 328,000 birds.

The expected increase in hen numbers has attracted criticism from nearby residents, who believe there will be problems with further traffic, noise, smell and flies.

Their views are backed by Lamancha, Newlands and Kirkurd community councillors who told SBC they were also concerned with the proximity of the proposal to neighbouring properties and Whim Hall Care Home.

Millionaire John Campbell founded Glenrath Farms in 1961, and its success – the firm is one of only two egg suppliers to Asda and Tesco – earned him an OBE in 2000.

Three years ago, Glenrath won an appeal to Scottish ministers to erect a poultry shed for 25,000 hens at Easter Happrew, after Tweeddale Area Committee had decided to reject the planning application.