MP's intervention on plans for massive poultry farm

George Freeman MP speaking at the official opening of The Blue Lion pub in North Pickenham. Picture:

George Freeman MP said he in a letter to Breckland Council leader Sam Chapman-Allen that he shared "many of the concerns" of his constituents over the plan - Credit: Archant

Plans to create a massive new poultry farm capable of housing some 350,000 chickens has come up against opposition from the local MP.

In a letter to Breckland Council leader Sam Chapman-Allen, Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said he shared “many of the concerns” of his constituents over the plan to build eight 97m x 22m poultry houses on land off Swangey Lane, at Rockland All Saints near Attleborough.

The application, submitted by PF Southgate Ltd, would also see “associated admin blocks, feed bins and ancillary development” erected.

More than 300 objections have so far been submitted to the council by residents and groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England, and the Breckland Astronomical Society - the latter of whom said the plan could cause light pollution

Children sit on a fence and look at the night sky full of stars

The Breckland Astronomical Society is concerned that light pollution from the development could make it harder to see the stars. - Credit: Pixabay

Mr Freeman said the development would be “situated in one of the most rural corners of Mid Norfolk and there is no doubt that an application of this scale would most certainly be out of keeping with the very rural nature of this location”.

He warned that the site’s elevated position would make it “visible for some distance in all directions”. 

Discussing the local road infrastructure, Mr Freeman said: “Swangey Lane is a single lane that lacks sufficient passing places and, I believe, is wholly inappropriate for the sheer size and quantity of vehicles that I understand would be required to sustain the proposed development.”

Addressing the environmental concerns around the project, the MP wrote: “A great many residents and businesses are worried about the increased odour and light pollution that will emanate from this site – issues that will only be heightened by the site’s elevation.”

poultry farm

The Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England and villagers are objecting to plans for massive poultry farm off Swangey Lane in Rockland All Saints, near Attleborough - Credit: Google

And on biosecurity, he said: “A recent bird flu outbreak occurred in the vicinity of the site in question and I am told that one of the contributing factors cited was the quantity of other large poultry farms in the area.”

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He added that he was aware of “significant local concerns that the proposed site’s close proximity to Swangey Fen [Site of Special Scientific Interest]… could present a much greater risk of bird flu and the likes getting into the poultry farm and sparking an outbreak…”

A spokeswoman for Parker Planning Services, which is serving as agent to PF Southgate Ltd, said she was “unable to comment on the case” and that the project is still awaiting a decision from Breckland Council.