Second dwelling need claim at poultry farm unproven

The owner of a large egg production facility in Cheshire was unable to persuade an inspector that a second dwelling was justified on welfare and biosecurity grounds.

The enterprise involved a flock of 96,000 birds housed in six large poultry units. Several people were employed to ensure 24-hour production. One worker lived permanently on site but the appellant claimed that a second resident employee was required to cover for sickness, holidays, training and to ensure excessive hours were not worked. A worker occupying a house in a nearby town would not meet the industry standard requirement for a 15-minute response time in an emergency.

Several settlements lay within three miles, the inspector noted, and a larger town within five miles. In his opinion accommodation could be secured in one of these locations and his site visit confirmed that a 15-minute response time appeared achievable. Overall, a dwelling to house a second farm worker had not been justified. Moreover, the dwelling was proposed to be sited 200 metres from the nearest unit and 600 metres from the furthest and separated by an earth mound. It was possible that were 16,000 birds in the nearest unit to get into distress, the occupier of the second dwelling would be out of earshot and therefore the net benefit of a back-up worker would be largely nullified. The proposal would harm the character of the area, and in the absence of a clear functional need, the appeal was dismissed.

Inspector: Andrew McCormack; Hearing

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