Cookham chicken farm plans due before Royal Borough tomorrow

James Harrison

James Harrison

Cookham chicken farm plans due before Royal Borough tomorrow

Controversial plans for a chicken farm in Cookham are set to be knocked back once again tomorrow.

In the latest installment of the so-called ‘Chickengate’ saga, an application for a certificate of lawfulness to install poultry sheds on land between Lightlands Lane and Strande Lane, in Cookham, is expected to be rejected when it goes before the Royal Borough’s Development Control Panel.

If approved, the proposals would have allowed the construction of a moveable unit to house free range chickens.

A document accompanying the application states: "The building will be constructed of bolted-together sections with a suspended floor, mounted on field skids.

“The structure will be light and will be clad in polythene. It will be capable of being moved, and will be moved, frequently.”

The shed, a 'McGregor polytunnel MPS 8000' would be capable of holding up to 4,000 birds.

The applicant, Samuel Driver, had been seeking confirmation from the Royal Borough that he would not require formal planning permission, as the land is intended for agricultural purposes and would therefore be excluded from the definition of ‘development’ in the Town and Country Planning Act.

The application also argued as it could, and would, be frequently moved, it would only constitute a temporary development.

However, officers recommended refusal, saying the size meant it would have a ‘permanent character’ for which 'express planning permission was required'.

Also recommended for refusal at the meeting was an application to build seven affordable homes on greenbelt land near Whyteladyes Lane, in Cookham.

A report accompanying the plans said there was ‘significant weight’ in favour of the proposal due to a need for housing.

‘Very special circumstances’ usually need to be proved in order to permit building on the greenbelt and it was also noted the applicant, named as Mr Copas, had argued this was the case as the development 'would contribute towards housing and affordable housing need within the borough'.

However, officers had recommended refusal, arguing the plans were inappropriate and could not be demonstrated to outweigh the harm that would be caused to the greenbelt.

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