Stickney is set for a population explosion...of chickens.
At an East Lindsey planning meeting, councillors voted eight-two to approve an application by A.R. Craven Farms Ltd to erect a free-range poultry unit, accommodating 28,000 egg-laying birds, on a 0.5-hectare site at Poplars Lane, off Midville Road.
The parish council and some villagers submitted objections on concerns that the accesses were unsuitable for the movements of HGVs carrying feed and other supplies to and from the premises.
However, committee chairman Coun Neil Cooper felt worries about potential damage to the highway might be overstated given that many modern lorries are designed to be ‘friendlier’ to road surfaces than their predecessors.
A further concern was that the introduction of so many chickens might result in disease which could spread to wild birds such as the geese, ducks, waders and plovers that frequent the area, especially in winter. However this issue, raised in writing by the parish council, was not considered by the planning committee.
Among those present at Thursday’s hearing was applicant Andrew Craven who explained how his business, predominantly arable, was seeking to diversify because of pressure on cereal prices.
Where appropriate, litter from the birds will be spread on the fields on a rotational basis to provide nutrition for the soil.
In response to questions from councillors, he insisted every effort would be made to minimise any risk of nuisance from flies or smell.