Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Angus farmer faces potatoes ‘bribe’ allegation in Cononsyth hen shed row

cononsyth hens sheds
Artist impression of the hens shed in Cononsyth Farm.

A farmer trying to build hen sheds in Cononsyth has been accused of “bribing” critical neighbours with sacks of potatoes.

Farmer Angus Dowell has lodged plans to build two sheds, which house 32,000 hens each, at Cononsyth Farm.

The hen sheds would supply eggs.

Local residents are preparing a formal objection to the plan, fearful it will lead to bad smells and congestion in their rural corner of Angus.

Angus Dowell previously left a letter and a 12kg bag of potatoes at the door of several objectors

Some of the residents then donated the potatoes to a foodbank in Forfar. They were concerned taking them could be seen as accepting a “bribe”.

Mr Dowell’s letter said Cononsyth Farm hopes to work with the residents to come to an agreement over the plans.

Cononsyth Protest Group member John Bell said he has not heard from the farmer since the Christmas letter.

He said: “The letter was very nice, saying he’d like to work with us and that type of thing, but we have not heard from the farmer since.

“We didn’t know what to do with the potatoes, or if it would be seen as a bribe if we accepted them, so we got them all together and took them to Forfar Foodbank, just to be safe.”

Why are residents objecting?

The Cononsyth Protest Group has highlighted a number of issues.

Members claim the plans are the “thin end of a wedge” and are worried their approval could open the door to more ‘intensive poultry unit’ construction across Tayside.

The concerns include:

  • Roads in the area are not suitable to handle an increase in large delivery vehicles
  • The increased traffic would also create more noise, as well as the noise from the hens
  • They anticipate an unpleasant odour will come from the area into their homes
  • They fear plans for managing rainfall are “inadequate” and could lead to increased flooding

Similar plans are in the pipeline for the Easter Meathie farm, also in rural Angus, but those are still at an early stage.

‘Lack of consultation’

The protest group says there has been a lack of public consultation in the Cononsyth hen sheds process.

Physical events could not take place because of coronavirus restrictions. The applicant’s agent, Cogeo, held an online discussion instead.

Protest group members took screenshots of their respective chats with the intention of publishing them on their website.

They claim Cogeo told them they were not allowed to do so.

“We were quite surprised at that,” Mr Bell added.

“The online chat certainly doesn’t cover what you would expect from a public consultation, in any case.

“We told them we would anonymise the data, so any claims of GDPR, which they claim is the reason, wouldn’t have applied.”

‘Worthwhile charitable facility’

A spokesman for Cogeo said Angus Dowell was “delighted” to hear that a “worthwhile charitable facility” such as Forfar Foodbank benefited from his gift.

Cogeo insists the “bribery” claim is a misunderstanding.

A spokesman said: “It was simply a product sample at a time of giving (Christmas).

“Even prior to the development consultation, our client has hosted many of the neighbours for Christmas drinks in the past.

Several neighbours took the time to thank our client for the gesture and potatoes publicly through Facebook.”

Cogeo spokesman

“Everyone may have varied views, although it is nice to note that several neighbours took the time to thank our client for the gesture and potatoes publicly through Facebook.”

The spokesman said allowing the screen shots to be shared would be a breach of GDPR laws.

He added the Cononsyth hen sheds have to be approved by Sepa and Angus Council.

“This process is robust and, importantly, independent.

“We are certain the emission from the development more than complies with the current standards and legislation.”

‘Economic boost’

Mr Dowell said four jobs will be created by the plans and he is “passionate” about selling the produce locally.

He said: “This project is an excellent addition to an arable farm and… sustainability is within our aspirations.

“We are also delighted to create 16 acres of additional woodland, which will be planted in the range for bird welfare, carbon sequestration and odour management.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in