Hopton Heath Poultry Sheds – Planning Application
Parish Council update November 2018
As most of you will probably know by now, the application for the poultry units at Hopton Heath was passed by a very slimmed down Shropshire South Planning Committee on 25 September. It was quite obvious from the start that the councilors on the committee would accept the recommendations of the officers for approval, and there was virtually no debate on the subject. Those who voted were more or less the same ones who voted to pass the project four years ago. The intellectual input from councilors was, regrettably, minimal and a far from impressive example of local democracy in action.
A meeting of those interested took place in the Parish Hall on 3 October, and a plan of action was decided upon, much as four years ago. As we may well be entering the realm of litigation I will not for tactical reasons comment publicly in this publication on what was decided, but suffice it to say that the matter is as yet far from closed. I will keep my “poultry group” mailing list informed of events, and if you wish to join it, please let me know. Precisely at this moment, there is little that can be done decisively as there is no formal grant of planning permission – only once it is issued can the decision be impugned. I will only add that I was very impressed with the turn out at the meeting and at the resolve shown unanimously by those present. Plainly, resentment toward the proposal has increased as the years have gone by.
There has been an update response from the Parish Council to a revised application. This was sent by the council on 3rd March 2018 and can be read bu clicking on the link below. The arguments remain largely unchanged.
The full document from November 2017 setting out the Parish Council’s objection to this development can be found using the link below.
This is the message from the chair of the Parish Council from October 2017
Most of you will know by now that the application for four industrial sized poultry units at Hopton Heath has been resubmitted by the Mann family of Heath Farm. The application has previously been to the High Court and subsequently turned down both by Shropshire Council and on appeal. It is, therefore, particularly distressing for the residents of Hopton Heath to have to face this threat yet again. Last time round, the Planning Inspector was obviously impressed by the show of public opinion, and if anything the Parish Council would like an even bigger show of solidarity this time.
The deadline day for objections by members of the public to be lodged with Shropshire Council is officially 31 October, but doubtless they will be accepted long after due to the complexity of the application. I had hoped to have the Parish Council response rather more advanced than it is by now, but it is going to be lengthy and detailed and is likely to be assisted by an independent noise report, which is not yet prepared. The Parish Council has until 10 November to respond, and although ideally the Parish Council response would be available to members of the public before they submitted their own objections, this seems now unlikely.
Against the above backcloth I think it sensible if members of the public who wish to object should send in their objections now. This decision is likely to be close, and I think it is important that as many people as possible object. Please, therefore, do what you can to encourage friends and neighbours to object, so that as strong a community front as possible is presented.
The application has changed little, save that some attention has been given to noise mitigation measures, and you will recall that the Inspector in her decision dismissing the appeal on the previous similar application placed great emphasis on the disturbance to the peace and tranquillity of the area this development was likely to make. However, by no means all noise is eliminated by the new application. The general approach of the applicants is that all they have to deal with is noise – everything else has been sorted!
However, in theory at least, the Council should be looking at all aspects of this application afresh, and so given the lack of substantial change, it is likely that many of you will merely wish to repeat the objections you made to the previous application. If you have forgotten what you said before, your comments will be available under the documents and comments section of the previous application, which can be seen on the Shropshire Council website at
Rather than merely cross refer to your previous objections, I think it is going to be easier logistically for Councillors and Council Officers to have them set out afresh either by direct entry on the Council’s planning portal at
Alternatively, objections may be sent by post to the following address, quoting reference 17/04546/EIA: Proposed Poultry Units at Hopton Heath
Development Management South
The Auction yard
Shropshire SY7 9BW
You will all have your own different reasons for objecting, but it may help you to know that
The Parish Council response will be dealing with inter alia the following issues, and you may in your responses like to pick up on some of these themes.
- The development is a large agricultural development that does not comply with Shropshire Council Core Strategy policy CS5
- The applicants have chosen not to expand at their present site, where there is available space, albeit at the expense of repositioning existing buildings. Remember that the applicants have recently expanded the Heath Farm site by 25% in terms of poultry production, an expansion they thought fit not to mention in their previous application
- Any failure of systems on the proposed site could well be catastrophic to the pearl mussels in the Special Area of Conservation
- The impact on tourism is likely to be significant – the Inspector thought not, but in so saying, of course, she impliedly admits there will be some impact. The more those with interests in letting accommodation (whether B & B, holiday lets or even permanent lets that may in future be used this way) flag this up the better.
- The impact of the development on the landscape is likely to be significant. Photographs from Hopton Titterhill view points and from the Herefordshire Way at Stormer Hall are likely to be useful
- Despite attempted mitigations, there will still be a noise impact at the properties around the development. The models employed by the applicants down play this, but those as far afield as Beckjay who hear noise from Heath Farm should flag this up. The noise report does not deal with aggregation of noise from different sources (fans, lorries in the compound, feed deliveries etc) but treats them all separately. The noise report does not deal at all with lorry noise on the road, which is likely to be particularly noticeable at night along the road from Broadward Hall Cottage to Marlow.
The report again does not deal with tractor noise transporting manure either to the bio-digester or out of The Clun Valley.
- Despite mitigations, there will again be odour and dust implications from the development. Those who experience problems with the existing Heath Farm development should say so.
- Transport movements in the Highways Assessment have been massively understated. The Parish Council belief on published evidence is that movements of lorries and tractors have been understated by 3 to 4 times. For example, removal of manure from the Clun Valley by tractor will require over 500 trailer loads per annum in seven cycles, and if the manure goes to the bio-digester first we are talking about twice that number. This is a point we missed on the previous application.
Leintwardine parish Council please take note.
- None of the reports submitted with the application deal with the aggregation of the operation of the existing site at Heath Farm and the proposed new operation. The two cannot be looked at in isolation. Even if the reports are correct and only minor inconvenience will be suffered as a result of the new site, the fact of the matter is that any present problems with smell or noise are going to be experienced on twice the number of days as before. Why should this be?
- Are there major economic benefits from this proposal to benefit the community that outweigh the inconvenience the community? Benefits to the applicants, yes, but as for the wider community there are so many chicken shed applications in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys, either newly consented or in the pipe-line, that the refusal of this application will mean only a delay in benefits coming through. Likewise, a refusal of this application will not have any significant impact on national meat production, because there are so many more applications coming through
- Is Shropshire Council looking at the likely problems brought about by the burgeoning number of poultry sheds consented? We have identified at least 21 successful poultry shed applications in Shropshire in the last 5 years (not including this one). These produce massive amounts of nitrogen and potassium. Has Shropshire Council any idea where this material is being deposited.
- Is this application really about farming for meat or is it about producing manure to put into the bio-digester? A biodigester at Heath Farm with consent for a 250KW output now has a potential output of 550KW without any apparent alteration in the planning permission. Also, and again without a permission, there is a wood chip drying facility. These are very profitable industrial uses producing subsidy payments of in well in excess of £500,000 a year according to published figures. The biodigester is the elephant in the room.
- If the manure from this development is to be taken out of the Clun Valley, where is it going to go and can Shropshire Council enforce this? Does Shropshire Council have the manpower to police this? Answer – undoubtedly not
- The renewal of this application in substantially the same form after Court proceedings, a refusal by Shropshire Council and the dismissal of an appeal by a Government Inspector shows a regrettable and somewhat unfathomable lack of respect by the applicants for their neighbours.
Clungunford Parish Council
30th October 2017