Poultry farm judged harmful to landscape setting

Visual, landscape and ecological harm make a proposed free-range poultry enterprise in the Devon countryside an unsustainable form of development, an inspector has ruled.

Concrete pads, mobile broiler units and feed silos had already been installed at the open, sloping grassland site. While finding the broiler units relatively low-profile, the inspector was concerned that the linear and uniform arrangement of the pads on which they were based resulted in a significant and harmful intrusion of built form into previously open grazing land.

In his view, the resultant landscape harm was further exacerbated by the light colour of the pads and the grey colour of the broiler units. He acknowledged that conditions could be imposed to improve finishes and materials and to address mitigation through landscaping. However, he did not consider that such measures would overcome the residual harm created by loss of open pasture and intensification of use at this prominent site.

He was also concerned about the impact of the units’ incongruous uniform layout and surface finishes on a national park, even at a distance of 3.5 kilometres, although he acknowledged that harm in this respect was limited and could be reduced by landscape mitigation and appropriate surface finishes. Overall, however, he concluded that the business’s benefits to the rural economy were insufficient to justify the landscape and visual harm caused.

Inspector: Stuart Castle; Written representations

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