Residents’ pleas fail to halt hen shed scheme

Despite a second plea from neighbours for councillors to reject a plan for a chicken shed at Whim, Lamancha, the scheme has been approved.

Members of the planning committee gave the go-ahead on Monday, when two residents and a local councillor spoke against the application for a second time.

The residents, Angie McDougall and Fiona Hodgkiss, said living next to the Glenrath Farms site was ‘intolerable’ due to noise, dust and odour, despite the removal of two sheds in 2012.

The owners received permission in 2012 to erect a new shed in their place, but subsequent market demand for barn eggs had prompted the Campbell family to apply for a different shed on the same footprint.

Since the committee initially considered the application in March, before putting it on hold to have site visits to similar operations and for an environmental health officer to attend to deal with queries , Mrs Hodgkiss said her family and other residents had experienced 15 days of noise and odour from the site, in addition to four nights disturbed sleep due to overnight vehicle movements on the farm.

Ms McDougall told the committee that she was badly affected by dust from the site and said it was “unacceptable” to place the manure elevator on the new shed just 50m from her house.

The already consented shed would contain almost 170,000 hens, whereas the new, lower shed would hold 44,000 birds.

Councillor Michelle Ballantyne said: “I have considerable empathy with the neighbours living next to the large chicken sheds - it is not ideal.

“I think a big consideration is that there is a shed already consented and it would have a greater impact than this one.

“Overall this is a much better design, both for the chickens and the neighbours. A massive reduction in the number of birds can only be a good thing.”

To enable vehicle movements overnight for animal welfare reasons, councillors agreed to modify a draft condition stopping all movement to the new shed between 11pm and 6.30am to allow some vehicular access if agreed in advance with the council.

Members also agreed to include a condition which will see planning officers investigate the potential options to have the manure elevator located elsewhere on the shed, further from the neighbouring property.

Councillor Donald Moffat had moved to reject the application, but received no support from the five other committee members.