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A FREE Range egg production business near Caersws will be able to expand by 300 per cent after its plans were approved.

Gwynne Hughes and Son who farm at Pertheirin, Pontdolgoch, have been given the green light to build two new buildings which will house 48,000 egg laying chickens.

The farm already has 16,000 egg laying chickens on site.

Powys County Council planning case officer Gemma Bufton said: “It is recognised that there are arguments both for and against the sustainability of intensive livestock units in the UK.

“All development has an impact, and it is the role of the planning authority to assess whether the impact is acceptable or unacceptable taking into account material planning matters.”

The area has several intensive chicken farms, and Welsh Government planners have issued guidance that local authorities need to think of the “cumulative effect” that developments have in an area.

Ms Bufton said that she had “considered” the cumulative impact this development would have to the area and believed refusal could not be, “justified on these grounds”.

“The development is considered to be compliant with local and national planning policy and it is for that reason that the development is recommended for approval,” said Ms Bufton.

In a Design and Access Statement, Richard Corbett of Roger Parry and Partners, explained the proposal:

Mr Corbett said: “The farm business is proposing to diversify further into free
range egg production, this enterprise has been researched fully and they are confident that the business can be a success and supplement the current marginal farm profits.”

Mr Corbett explained that after 14 months the flock is removed and the
whole building fully cleaned down internally, and then new flock introduced to restart the egg production cycle.

He added that the farmers already have a contract with a company to supply it with eggs.

Mr Corbett wanted to stress that the development is not an “intesive livestock unit.”

But, there had been opposition to the scheme locally and in January, Caersws Community Council objected to the proposal.

Caersws community council clerk, Sophie Palmer said: “Local residents and councillors are concerned about the environmental effects, health effects and issues such as odour and negative impact on our narrow country roads which are not built to deal with such large vehicles on such a regular basis.

“Councillors feel that there are currently too many poultry units in Powys and until such a time as the cumulative effects have been calculated and researched, no further developments or extensions should be granted at all. ”

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