Residents left waiting for chicken farm report

Emma Billingham


Frustration continues among residents demanding action from the Royal Borough over a proposed chicken farm on land between Strande Lane and Lightlands Lane.

A report from council planning enforcement officers was due on Tuesday but residents have heard nothing of the outcome and the council has not yet published the report.

This week a container has been delivered to the field. It has had two planning applications refused for large poultry sheds, but the owner of the site has continued with other works.

Digging work has gone on for the last two weeks and villagers have been concerned hard standing could be put in the field despite it being a high flood risk.

Andy Silver, of the Residents Action Group, said: “Residents are frustrated that we’ve gone from a collaborative relationship with the council to a lack of information.

“Everything must be legal and we want to know that Mr Driver (the applicant) is following legislation and planning laws.

“We’re looking to RBWM to advise what is going to happen.”

Police were called to the site at noon on Monday after receiving a report of harassment, which they are looking into.

Update Thursday, July 21, 10.21am:

The Royal Borough sent out a statement to residents last night. It reads as follows:

The local planning authority continues to closely monitor this site about which a number of residents have raised concerns and will take action where there are grounds to do so.  Information has been gathered and the Council is satisfied that the land is in an agricultural use which does not need planning permission.  A shipping container has been brought on to the site: Part 4, Class A (Temporary Buildings and Uses) of the GPDO 2015 allows for moveable structures on land in connection with an operation that does not require planning permission.  The Council is satisfied, at this point in time, that it is a moveable structure and benefits from express consent, a separate planning application is not required and as such flooding is not a material consideration.  This is because the GDPO does not have any conditions on express consent in relation to constraints on the land. However, this matter will continue to be closely monitored to ensure it continues to be a moveable structure. 

Previously fencing has been erected which also benefits from permitted development and is lawful.  Three chicken sheds on site are on a metal frame that allows them to be moved around by a tractor. Evidence has been received which establishes that planning permission is not required, as these structures do not amount to development.  Again this matter will continue to be monitored to ensure they continue to be moveable structures. 

The Council is also aware that the digging of trenches and laying of pipes and cables for water and electricity has occurred.  These works are permitted development under Part 6, Class B (c) of the GPDO.

In addition, topsoil has been removed from land, this does not amount to development.  Should hardstanding then be laid on site under Part 6 of the GDPO up to 465 square metres could be provided using permitted development rights.

A Planning Contravention Notice has been served on the landowner and this has been returned to the local planning authority, this is not a public document. 

In regards to the structure that has just appeared on site we will now investigate this as a matter of urgency. We will continue to work with the residents and landowner to resolve issues where possible.  The Council will take formal enforcement action where there are grounds to do so.

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