Plans for a massive new egg production unit on a former airfield in Stafford have been given the go ahead by the borough council.
Up to 64,000 birds will be housed at the free-range unit earmarked for land off Clanford Road, Seighford.
The facility will provide outside roaming space for four separate flocks during the day and four buildings for the birds to be housed at night. There will also be three full time jobs created.
The plans, put forward by Seighford Settled Estates for part of a former Second World War airfield, were recommended for approval by Stafford Borough Council’s planning officers.
The final decision was made by the council’s planning committee at a special meeting on Monday (January 20) because of the size of the development and a call-in by ward member Mark Winnington due to the scale and environmental impact.
The four buildings are each set to be 139m long, 51m wide and 6.35m high at their tallest points.
Councillor Winnington said: “I was asked by the parish council to call this in – there is some local concern about the impact of this development as it goes forwards. From my point of view it is important we take not of the size.
“One football pitch is 100m by 60m so this site takes in four football pitches – these are quite substantial buildings. The silos are 7.4m high, which is not excessively high in terms of agricultural buildings.
“This airfield is a flat field, there is nothing much on the horizon. It’s fairly important we get the landscaping right on this. I want assurance for residents there won’t be any run-off from this site into the brook.
“There is reference made to the planning policy around economic growth in rural areas – I back that 110% as we go into a post-Brexit era. We will need to feed the country eggs and chickens and meat that’s top quality.
“As an industry we have had 40 years of stagnation – productivity is the same as when I left college in 1980. This enterprise will be incredibly important as we go forward.”
Stafford Borough Council received six objections to the plans from residents. Concerns raised included excessive traffic, reduced highway safety, noise, dust, odours and drainage.
The county’s highways authority raised no objections to the plans, subject to the construction of visibility splays. The committee was also told that any concerns about odour from the site were a matter for the Environment Agency as the enforcing authority, which had issued an environmental permit for the site in 2019.
Committee members visited the site for the proposed egg unit on Monday morning before their meeting.
Councillor Marnie Philips, who asked if the road should be widened at the site, said: “With regards to animal welfare I had concerns over this application previously. Having been on a site visit that has helped hugely.”
But Councillor Jack Kemp, who called for the site to be visited by archaelogists, said: “We don’t know what is buried underneath. I think a field walk should be done before they start digging.”