There were furious shouts of “you don’t care about our health” from the public gallery as councillors signed off on a contentious poultry farm in rural Perthshire.
Protesters packed out the meeting room at 2 High Street having initially mustered outside, campaigning against a controversial egg farm which is to house 32,000 chickens on the edge of Ardler, near Coupar Angus.
After giving a joint deputation to the planning and development management committee, the protesters were warned after repeatedly jeering comments made by councillors and the applicant.
Local resident Andy Mulholland, who lives in the closest property to the site, explained the application has worsened mental health issues whilst making a passionate plea against the decision.
Mr Mulholland said gardening, which helps his depression, would be blighted by noise and odour coming from the farm he described as “an industrial estate”.
He said: “I am concerned on many levels. There are the health issues which are key, as well as the view from the village.
“It’s totally the wrong setting. It is unprecedented how near to the village it is, compared to other chicken farms. There are no natural boundaries, just fences.
“This has already had a profound effect on my life and my mental health.”
Former councillor and resident Bob Ellis also outlined fears over insufficient infrastructure, pollution of nearby watercourses and concerns about what the wind would carry into the village.
Applicant Peter Grewar, along with Malcolm Sharp of the Scottish Rural College, explained only 20% of the chickens would be grazing at any given time, and the noise would be “a gentle clucking”, only heard from very close to the shed.
Between feed, waste removal and egg lorries, along with the two new members of staff travelling to and from work, it was calculated there would be more than 20 additional journeys per week on the narrow road, which is without passing places, and through the village.
However, the concerns were quashed by all but one councillor.
Conservative vice convener Bob Brawn and Councillor David Illingworth said they lived near poultry farms in Bridge of Cally and Abernethy respectively without any negative side effects.
Mr Brawn added farms are to be expected when living in rural villages such as Ardler.
SNP elected member Tom Gray described the residents’ fears as “over-egged”, saying the smell comes from manure spread on fields which would be removed, rather than the birds themselves.
Eric Drysdale asked for the motion to be rejected on several grounds, including the disapproval of the community and the availability of moving the chicken shed to a plot of land owned by the applicant which would not be directly upwind of the farm.
However, with nobody to second the refusal, the plan was passed, with more boos echoing around the gallery.