More than 1,000 comments made on plans for chicken farm in Rushden

One of the posters by the Cluck Off campaign group
One of the posters by the Cluck Off campaign group

Plans for a poultry farm which could house 540,000 birds have attracted more than 1,000 comments online.

Bedfordia Farms Ltd has applied to build 10 poultry buildings and associated infrastructure on land north east of the Westwood AD Plant in Bedford Road, Rushden.

One of the boards which have gone up around Rushden

One of the boards which have gone up around Rushden

If approved, each building would have a capacity of 54,000 birds with a total capacity of 540,000 birds.

The plans have attracted opposition from individuals and organisations, as well as town and parish councils in the area.

Taylor Wimpey is among those who have lodged an objection.

A letter from the housebuilder to East Northamptonshire Council, which will consider the plans, states: “The council’s website has a large number of complaints from local residents.

“We are concerned that the level of objection to this application would impact on the sales of the committed homes within the Rushden East development.

“This could result in slower sales and delivery of the dwellings therefore prejudicing the deliverability of adopted joint core strategy.”

So far, 1,157 comments have been made online about the plans, of which 1,153 are objections and one is in support.

MP for Wellingborough and Rushden Peter Bone is supporting campaigners who are against the plans and recently secured a debate on the issue at Westminster Hall.

Four members of the Cluck Off group fighting the plans joined Mr Bone in London to hear him raise numerous concerns he has about the plans, including welfare of the chickens, enviromental impact, disruption to the local community and odour problems.

Roger Barnes from the Cluck Off group joined Mr Bone in London and said: “The MP is backing us to the hilt, which has to be a good thing.”

Mr Barnes said the application is talking about ‘an awful lot of chickens’ and added: “I have given leaflets out in Rushden High Street, Higham Ferrers Market Square and at the bonfire night and nobody is aware that this sort of density of birds is allowed in the UK.”

Earlier this month, Mr Bone presented a petition in the House of Commons which has been signed by more than 7,000 people.

On presenting the petition, Mr Bone said: “I am grateful to all the members who have come along to listen to the petition, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Tom Pursglove), whose constituency is also affected by this dreadful proposal for a factory-style American chicken farm in Higham and Rushden.

“As a result of this outrageous proposal, 540,000 chickens will be slaughtered every 39 days.

“The lead petitioners are Cllr David Jenney, Roger Barnes and Cllr Peter Tomas, and 7,002 people have signed the petition.”

The petition is calling for the chicken farm plans to be refused on the grounds of increased pollution, foul odour, effect on local house prices and increased traffic volume.

For more details about the application, which is unlikely to be considered by councillors until the new year, search for 17/01328/FUL on the planning page of East Northants Council’s website.