Plans to expand a farm in the West Berkshire countryside with a new building to house 16,000 chickens have been recommended for refusal because of the impact it would have on the landscape.
Permission is being sought to build a free range egg laying unit at Plantation Farmhouse in Beedon Common, to the north of Newbury.
It would reach 5.7m in height – around 18 feet – be 91m long and 20m wide, on a site within the North Wessex Downs area of outstanding natural beauty.
However planning officers believe the building would have an ‘adverse visual impact’ on the area, and recommended that the council’s western area planning committee voted against the proposals.
A decision is due to be made this evening.
In the pre-meeting report, planning officer Catherine Ireland wrote: “The location and built form of the proposed development would have an adverse visual impact and detrimentally alter the character of the site. The siting of the proposed building on top of land which is undulating, open and exposed in character is visually prominent and part of a sensitive rural landscape.
“The building would be visible beyond the site and from public rights of way, conflicting with the aims of the public right of way network and the amenity of its users.”
Similar concerns were also raised by Chieveley Parish Council and a number of nearby residents.
The plans had been called in by councillor Clive Hooker, whose Downlands ward includes Beedon, who argued that the farm needed to expand.
He said: “This is an existing free range egg producing business that needs to expand to keep the business viable.
“This opportunity will provide additional employment in the area and give the son of the business owner the opportunity to take on the new enterprise and contribute to the continued success of the farm.
“Two existing egg production buildings and associated runs exist on the farm and are in close proximity to the proposed. These are hardly visible from high viewpoints due to sympathetic landscaping and tree planting, the same will apply to the proposed development.”