Poultry firm gets planning approval

McLean Eggs has been given planning consent to erect a 32,000-bird poultry shed, plus egg packing and storage area at Hutton Hall Barns poultry farm, despite five objections from local residents and the local community council.

Monday, 20th March 2017, 8:45 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:37 am

Councillors at Monday’s Scottish Borders Council planning committee voted 6-2 in favour of the application at the site near Allanton where two egg companies - McLean Eggs and Border Eggs Ltd have thousands of hens. Border Eggs Ltd have several poultry sheds with up to 40,000 birds on the site and this new building will be McLean Eggs second building for up to 32,000 free range hens.

MacLean Eggs was set up in order to supply the free-range egg market in the UK. Last year supermarket chains such as Tesco, Morrison’s and Aldi made commitments to source eggs from cage free hens by 2025 and producers such as McLean Eggs are now investing in new facilities to meet the changing market demands.

Objections centred on: bird numbers and capacity within fields; proximity to watercourse and impact from pollution; potential impact on fishing and ecology; there would be seven sheds with over 100,000 birds; serious adverse impact on the amenity of residents of Hutton Hall Barns from the cumulative impact from all the sheds and birds in the same place; impact on health and welfare of residents; and residents encircled by two companies.

Planning officers acknowledged the concerns of local residents but told councillors: “Whilst the community council and neighbours object to the intensification of birds on site and associated dust and noise emissions, SEPA are satisfied that the development is potentially capable of being authorised under the Pollution Prevention and Control (PCC) Scotland Regulations 2000.”

Neighbours concerns about increased traffic were addressed, planning officer Lucy Hoad explaining that eggs will be taken by Noble Foods three times per week for processing and packing prior to dispatch. There will be one additional articulated lorry load of feed per week delivered to site over and above existing traffic movements.

There will be two tractor and trailer loads of manure moved per week from the proposed poultry house and birds are removed and sheds re-stocked every 56 weeks accounting for eight additional traffic movements in each 13-month cycle.

Recommending approval of the application, Ms Hoad continued: “It is accepted that the proposed development will be consistent with the council’s policies on economic development in the countryside.

“It is an appropriate building in terms of design, scale and massing and it is considered that due to the topography and proposed screening the visual impact will be negligible. The proposal will not have a significant adverse impact on the ecology or landscape subject to appropriate mitigation measures being put in place.

“The development will provide full time employment for two people and two part time posts on site/in the office, and will contribute to numerous other job opportunities within the processing and packing, and supply chain sectors (for example poultry shed staff, agricultural worker, staff at the egg processing and packing facilities, vehicle drivers, tractor drivers).