Fears 32,000-bird chicken farm will ruin rare nursery at Nettleton

Site plan
Site plan

Plans to build an agricultural shed for 32,000 hens pose a ‘serious threat’ to a five-acre botanical garden and specialist plant nursery - one of only a few in Europe.

Kate Leeson of Q Parker and Son has applied to West Lindsey District Council for permission to erect an agricultural building to house 32,000 free range hens for egg production, at Woodland Farm, off Moortown Road in Nettleton.

But Pottertons Nursery, which is 100 metres from the proposed site, fears noise and odour from the farm will severely threaten its business.

In a post on Facebook, the specialist Alpine and Dwarf bulbs nursery, said: “We have a serious threat to the nursery.

“Our new farmer neighbours have submitted a planning application for an enormous shed to house a 32,000 free range egg producing chicken farm just 100 metres from our boundary.

“We are extremely worried that the noise and emitted odour will severely threaten our business and livelihood.”

The post has attracted 47 comments and been shared 75 times.

The nursery is unique to Lincolnshire and one of only a few of its kind in the UK and Europe.

It offers 1,200 varieties of alpines, bulbs and woodland plants and gives visitors the opportunity to walk around its tranquil five-acre botanical garden.

In a letter to WLDC, one resident said: “You cannot spoil/ruin this wonderful and rare nursery with such a dreadfully smelly and noisy development.

“Rare/alpine plant nurseries are few and far between you should cherish this one not ruin its livelihood.”

Mrs Leeson’s planning application says the proposed development responds to the commitments from most major retailers to source all eggs from cage free egg production by 2025.

The application states: “Free range demand will increase and new sites will be required to meet this demand.

“For example Tesco have made a commitment that by 2025 they will have stopped sourcing eggs from caged birds – which currently equates to 43 per cent of their total eggs sold.

“The Farmer’s Weekly reports, ‘Tesco, Iceland, Morrisons, Asda, Lidl and Aldi have all set a 2025 deadline to allow a transition to cage-free production.’”

The 120m x 24.5m building would be green and ‘designed to cause minimal intrusion into the landscape’, according to the planning application.

And the development would lead to four full-time jobs and up to four part-time jobs.

The application states: “This will be a boost in a community where job opportunities are few.”

It goes on to say: “The chosen site is very suitable for the planned application, occupying 40 acres of well sheltered farmland.

“To ensure odour from the site is minimised, manure will be removed twice weekly from the shed and the site, and spread on other farmland.”

A public consultation is now underway.

Residents have until December 23 to submit any comments to West Lindsey District Council.