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Councillors will be urged to approve plans for a new chicken farm in Weeford. The land off Little Hay Lane has been earmarked for six broiler units capable of holding 270,000 animals in total. The proposals have proved controversial though, with an online petition passing the 1,000 signatures mark. Katie Ferneyhough, who started the petition, said the welfare of the animals needed to be considered. “The broiler hens live only 37 days and never see the sun. “I own chickens and they are amazing animals. People do not realise the damage this will do. “We should not be treating animals this way for our own food production.” But a report to a meeting of the planning committee this evening (April 13) insists that the decision should not be swayed by animal welfare issues. A council official adds: “I consider that the ethical or moral values of the type of intensive farming proposed cannot be material to the determination of the planning application. “Animal welfare, while clearly an important matter, is subject to other controls/checks separate to the planning legislation.” There have also been a number of letters submitted to Lichfield District Council from cyclists concerned about the impact of additional HGVs on the lanes near the site. But the site will only now be able to move traffic between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and at 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. The council officer behind the report said: “With regard to highway, pedestrian and rider safety, it is considered that the development, while generating an increase in HGV traffic, would not cause significant harm to safety, subject to conditions, and is therefore considered to be acceptable in this regard. I therefore do not consider that refusal could be sustained on highway safety grounds.”

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Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.