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Plans for 104k bird chicken farm could be decided by Welsh Government minister

Bryn Thomas Farm Existing Poultry Unit (pic: Google Street View)

A PAUSE has been put on plans to increase the capacity of an existing chicken farm near Llandrindod Wells by an extra 104,000 birds.

This is so that the Welsh Government minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS can mull over taking charge of the decision making process after being asked to “call in” the application.

Welsh Government – Minister for Climate Change – Julie James MS (Member of Senedd)

Back in 2021. Ben Owens of Owen Brothers lodged a planning application with Powys County Council to add two new poultry units as well as four feed bins, a dirty water tank and drainage attenuation pond at Bryn Thomas poultry unit, Penybont, Bettws Disserth to the east of Llandrindod Wells.

Bryn Thomas Farm Penybont Near Llandrindod Wells (pic: UK Grid Reference Finder)

The units would be for 52,000 birds each and would raise the farms capacity to 181,000 birds.

The farm had egg laying units to accommodate 32,000 hens.

In 2019 the family were given the go ahead by Powys planners to change the use of the egg laying units to meat producing broiler chickens taking bird capacity at the farm up to 77,000

Welsh Government head of planning casework, Hywel Butts said: “I direct Powys County Council, not to grant planning permission for the development without the prior authorisation of the Welsh ministers.

“I issue this direction to enable further consideration to be given to whether or not the application should be referred to the Welsh ministers for their determination.”

The holding direction allows consultation work as part of the application process to continue and also allows the council to refuse the scheme.

Planning agent, Ian Pick explained that during pre-application discussions with planning officers the development was seen as “acceptable in principle.”

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Mr Pick said: “The proposed development represents an additional investment of approximately £1.5 million in the construction of the expanded poultry farm.

“The development will make a valuable contribution to UK food supply and food security, producing table birds for the growing poultry market.”

Concerns that the proposals could cause pollution have already been raised by Welsh Government sponsored environment body, Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

This is because the River Ithon which is part of the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is 200 metres from the farm.

This is the third time this year that the Welsh Government have issued holding directions for chicken farm proposals in the county.