THE PROCESS of approving a 112,000 broiler chicken farm near Newtown which was backed by Powys County Councillors has been paused.
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.
Earlier this month, Powys County Council’s Planning committee recommended approving a planning application by Gwyn Jones to build two poultry units for 56,000 chickens each and all the associated works at Upper Maenllwyd.
The site is situated just off the B4368 road between the villages of Kerry and Abermule.
Welsh Government planning directorate chief planner and deputy director, Neil Hemington said: “Ministers have been asked to call in the application for their own determination.
“I hereby direct your council not to grant planning permission 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 direction prevents your council only from granting planning permission; it does not prevent it from continuing to process or consult on the application.
“Neither does it prevent it from refusing planning permission.”
At the planning committee on February 2 meeting several councillors were “surprised” and” uncomfortable” that the application was being debated before a consultation period on the proposal ends on February 20.
They were told that the application needed to go before them at that meeting as the planning officer Louise Evans, who had dealt with the application was leaving the authority for a new job.
Councillors were told that Ms Evans would not be available to answer their questions on the application at a future meeting.
Due to the ongoing consultation process, councillors were only allowed to recommend how the application should be decided – not grant it themselves.
The decision has been delegated to the planning professional lead, Peter Morris along with the Planning committee chairman, Cllr Karl Lewis and vice-chairman Cllr Gareth D Jones.
They were going to issue a decision once the consultation period had ended.
A separate planning application for a 100,000 meat rearing chicken farm near Builth Wells was paused in January to allow the Welsh Government to consider calling the application in to be decided by a minister.
The applicant Lyndon Jones of Cwmafan, Llanafan Fawr, wants to build two agricultural steel portal framed buildings to rear 50,000 broilers in each one, as well as installing feed bins, creating a new vehicular access together with all other associated works.
The council were told that they can’t grant the application until the Welsh Government minister has decided what to do with it – but they can continue to work on it.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “No decision has been made yet.”