The international company behind a controversial chicken farm proposal in rural Perthshire has been asked to withdraw its application by the local authority.
Community campaigners in Murthly were “thrilled” after Perth and Kinross Council told Aviagen to go back to the drawing board over the bid to build a 26,000-bird industrial poultry unit (IPU) beside the village.
More than 2oo objections were lodged, with residents raising health concerns about the close proximity of the unit to the local primary school.
Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT) also objected on the basis it would impact the natural Ha Ha feature that defines the area.
Planning bosses at the council have now asked Aviagen to reconsider the application, highlighting a number of issues.
The local authority wants Aviagen to show a more remote location, away from the village, was considered and provide evidence of the reviews of alternative sites.
The council also raised concerns over the company’s intention to “remove and level” sections of the existing Ha Ha – a negative wall or ditch landscape feature, often enclosing an open space, that removes the need for barriers and allows open views across a landscape.
In a letter to Aviagen, Callum Petrie, planning officer at Perth and Kinross Council, said: “Whilst it is appreciated that it is not always possible to preserve historic features, it does not appear that alternative approaches that could preserve this feature and its setting have been investigated fully investigated.”
Mr Petrie also asked the chicken farm company to reconsider plans to build a farm manager’s house on the site and for additional native planting to be added into the plans.
John Evans, chairman of Keep Murthly Beautiful and leader of campaign group Druids Park Community Company, called the rejection from the council “damning”.
He told The Courier: “Many hundreds of extremely worried locals raised their voices and then put trust in the process and Perth and Kinross Council.
“The council has demonstrated here that they will not allow anyone to build on prime agricultural land, or desecrate our historic artefacts, or brazenly ignore the impact on our water courses.
“Proposing to build such a horrific development next to a school was doomed from the start.
“Hopefully the developer and their agents will be more thoughtful in future.”
Aviagen said it is already working on many of the aspects outlined and will now consider whether to re-submit an application.
A spokesperson said: “Consultation is a vital part of any planning process and we fully respect the role it plays.
“This detailed outline of the improvements now needed to secure planning consent are extremely helpful.”