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Angus councillors discuss hen shed plan expansions

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Plans that could bring more than 100,000 hens to rural Angus have more than doubled in size to allow more outdoor space for the birds.

The details emerged as Angus Council development standards committee discussed two proposal of application notices for large hen sheds near Cononsyth.

The process allows councillors to identify key issues to be addressed for large projects before a formal planning application is made.

The committee discussed both plans earlier this year, but the expansion meant they were both brought before councillors again.

While the size of the proposed farms would now be substantially bigger, the number of proposed hens has not changed.

The revised plans will now include outdoor space for the animals.

Farms expansion could see 64,000 hens in Angus

The size of the area has increased from 6.5 hectares to 55 for the plans for the field immediately west of North Mains of Cononsyth Farm.

The proposal for the land west of Easter Meathie Farm, Lour — about eight miles from the Cononsyth site — the site will now be 45 hectares rather than three, if an application is successful.

Councillors noted the proposal with the same concerns that were raised before.

Councillor Richard Moore did raise the recent bird flu outbreak in England, and with that in mind asked about the amount of space each hen will have within the sheds.

He said: “All bird owners are being told they have to be put in housing. Now I don’t know what these hen huts, for want of a better word, are made of or how they’re designed internally, but going by only floor space, we’re talking about just over a sheet of A4 per bird.

“Will we get more detail about the actual sheds?”

Angus Council development standards manager Alan Hunter answered, telling the committee the planning application will have to include full details of the sheds.

Both proposals, from different farmers but both working with planning consultants Cogeo, would see two 32,000 capacity hen sheds erected — resulting in a total of 128,000 hens brought to the area.

The site would be primarily used for the production of eggs.

It is understood that several local residents are not happy with the plans and will object when the full application is made.

Among the concerns raised at the previous meetings include the loss of prime agricultural land, noise and odour impact on neighbours and how animal waste will be processed.

The committee heard that the applicants will be obliged to carry out public consultation before officially lodging their plans.

An environmental impact assessment will be carried out prior to a formal application.

Villagers in Murthly, Perthshire, set up a campaign group earlier this year to fight back after plans for a poultry farm for 26,000 chickens emerged there.

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