Rushden chicken farm plans attract hundreds of objections again

The Cluck Off campaigners with MPs Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove earlier this year
The Cluck Off campaigners with MPs Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove earlier this year

More than 1,000 objections have been made against revised plans for a chicken farm near Rushden.

Bedfordia Farms Ltd wanted to build 10 poultry buildings and associated infrastructure on land north east of Westwood Anaerobic Digestion Plant in Bedford Road, Rushden.

But the plans attracted huge levels of opposition, including from the Cluck Off campaign group, MPs Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Campaigners were delighted when the application was withdrawn in February, but Bedfordia Farms has since submitted revised plans for construction and operation of a broiler rearing unit with six linked poultry buildings and ancillary structures on land north east of Westwood AD Plant in Bedford Road, Rushden.

So far, the new plans have attracted more than 1,000 comments on the planning pages of the website for East Northants Council, which will consider the application.

The views submitted include 1,085 objections and no supporting comments yet.

Roger Barnes from the Cluck Off group, which is all set to fight the plans for a second time, said: “There are over 1,000 letters of objection now.

“And the MPs are with us totally on it.

“This is round two and Cluck Off signs have gone up around the area.”

Roger said they have had a great response to ‘round two’ of the Cluck Off campaign so far, including 430 people showing their support in the space of just four hours at a car rally in Higham Ferrers two weeks ago.

He said: “The response shows the strength of feeling, it speaks volumes.

“I just hope the councillors sit up and listen to their constituents.”

Documents submitted as part of the new application by Bedfordia Farms state: “The applicant withdrew this application prior to the application being reported to the council’s planning committee.

“The applicant has since redesigned and reconfigured its proposals, reducing the scale of the proposed poultry farm significantly to address the potential adverse effects on the landscape.”

An email from the agent to the council says the broiler unit is designed to raise 314,000 birds every 49 day cycle, equating to 2,339,000 birds per year.

Chicks would be introduced to the poultry houses when a day old and would be reared for approximately 38 days under controlled and monitored conditions.

For more details on the revised plans, search for 18/01284/FUL on the planning page of the council’s website.