A CAMPAIGN has been launched to stop controversial plans to build sheds housing 128,000 chickens at a beauty spot.

Owners of Manor Farm, in Low Dinsdale, near Darlington, have applied to erect three broiler units in fields next to the village.

The sheds, measuring 104m by 25m, would each house 42,666 birds and be built next to the farm’s existing four sheds, which currently produce about one million chickens every year.

Loading article content

The Low Dinsdale Group, made up of residents from the village and surrounding area, has criticised the plans, claiming they are forced to close windows and cannot hang out washing due to the appalling smells emanating from the sheds.

However, the farm owners have said the sheds will have no impact on the environment or residents’ quality of life.

Dr Paul Weightman, who lives just metres from the current units, is leading the action group, and said he believed the ammonia produced from them was already damaging the health of residents.

He said: “The footprint of the proposal is huge, and we want to stop this proposed doubling of production for the sake of the countryside, the health of residents, and those who pass close by on the road and the Teesdale Way.

“Nothing can be done to shield us from the noxious odours and more critically the avian viruses and huge quantities of ammonia that threaten man, woman and child as well as watercourses, plants, trees, birds and insects.”

However, a report from Ian Pick, on behalf of the farm’s owners, denied the development would harm the environment.

It said: “The development is consistent with the local area’s character and will not cause any unacceptable environmental impacts.

“It will cause a negligible impact in terms of noise and will not exceed the Environment Agency odour threshold.

“The site is beyond the distance where dust problems can occur, and ammonia and nitrogen assessments demonstrate the proposal is acceptable in terms of impact on a site of nature conservation importance.”

The deadline for objections to the application is Saturday, November 25.