Plans to build a large chicken farm for up to 225,000 birds have been approved despite claims such facilities are damaging rural areas.
Villagers in Ruabon voiced their objections to proposals for four chicken sheds at Cinders Farm in Ruabon ahead of them going before planners, describing them as an ‘eyesore’.
Wrexham Council received 65 objections from neighbours who were also concerned about the impact on the road network, including the A539.
However, after politicians reached deadlock on the application, the chair of the authority’s planning committee used his casting voted to grant permission.
Earlier in Monday’s meeting Marchwiel councillor John Pritchard (IND) warned poultry processing units were making life difficult for residents.
He said: “This application before us this afternoon could have a major impact on the residential communities of Ruabon, Eyton and Erbistock.
“Our road network in these villages is not good and they were only intended for our local farms and not for HGV vehicles.
“These type of chicken units that are now beginning to circle the town of Wrexham are more like industrial units and are going to ruin our rural areas.
“After a recent survey, this has been designated as a red route for motorcycles by North Wales Police and the Welsh Government.
“It has some of the most accidents in Wales on that route.”
Council officers recommended the plans for approval after highlighting that weight should be given to the positive economic impact of the development.
They also cited a recent successful appeal for a poultry facility Mulsford Farm in Sarn in favour of backing the scheme.
But it led to an argument among councillors about whether decisions taken by the Planning Inspectorate were being used against them.
Cllr Pritchard said: “Every time we seem to get threatened with the planning inspector.
“The planning inspector doesn’t have to live round here and he doesn’t have to live with what they (residents) have to put up with.”
However, committee chair Mike Morris (Cons) said the outcome of appeals was an important consideration in light of the costs incurred by the council.
Members were told by officers that there was not enough evidence to suggest the proposal would be damage road safety.
They added that Soaltar Farming would be required to put mitigation measures in place if permission was granted.
Cllr Morris said: “We have to take into account the decision of the planning inspectorate otherwise we’re seen to be acting frivolously.
“As you know that’s when costs get awarded against us.
“If we continually refuse applications without valid reasons just because it happens to suit our own local area that’s the sort of situation we get.
“We all sit here as councillors wringing our hands saying how poor the council is and how short we are of money.
“Out of the 22 local authorities we have a poor track record for not getting appeals dealt with by the inspector.”
Cllr Paul Pemberton (Ind) put forward a recommendation to approve the development, but to add restrictions on when deliveries could be carried out.
Votes were tied on the proposal before Cllr Morris had the final say to grant permission.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).
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