A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a free-range chicken barn with capacity for 32,000 hens has been approved by Carmarthenshire County Council.

The building will be constructed on Godre Garreg Farm, in Llangadog.

It had previously gone before the county council in October, where it was refused.

However, since that date, the proposed site of the building had been moved from the south of one of the farm’s fields, to the north, nearer the farm building itself.

Despite the changes, the application received more than 79 objections from residents, including an objection from Llangadog Community Council.

They were unhappy with the size and scale of the development, the impact it could have on traffic, and the proximity to houses.

However, the plans were recommended for approval by the council’s planning officer, and councillors voted 18 to two in favour of the application.

Speaking at the planning meeting on Thursday, Gail Lewis, on behalf of the applicants, said: “A number of conditions have been proposed and the applicants have agreed to them. Over the past two years all the objections and comments have been considered and addressed.

“The family are desperate to develop a sustainable business and to enhance and protect the environment while also being respectful to their community.”

Councillor Eirwyn Williams was supportive of the application.

He said: “I understand and respect the concerns of the objectors, but I also consider that the primary industry in that part of the Towy Valley is agriculture.

“This family at Godre Garreg are already contributors to the local economy and I see that there is an opportunity here for them to increase that contribution.”

Councillor Mansell Charles added: “As someone who was not at all happy with the location of the site in the first application, this one appears to be much more acceptable.

“I take pride in the fact that there are young farmers such as these willing to undertake such ventures in our area.”

The committee approved the application, which may now be subject to a call in from the Welsh Government.

Following the approval, committee chairman, Councillor Alun Lenny, addressed claims of corruption that had been made by an objector.

He said: “One objection stated: ‘There is talk of handouts to councillors to support this application’.

“I want to state publicly that councillors have a rigorous code of conduct that we have all signed which expects the highest possible standards of us as members.

“Anyone with information of such handouts should inform the council’s monitoring officer.

“If there is no evidence then I consider this to be a quite improper remark and the person, or persons, who makes such comments should be very careful where and how they tread.”