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Chicken farmer cries foul over Warwick farm changes

THE company appealing a partial approval to build a chicken processing farm near Warwick has accused Southern Downs Regional Council of changing a planning policy and hampering their chance of a successful appeal.

Southern Downs Regional Council partially approved the Carr Farming Trust's application in January to build a poultry farm at Elbow Valley.

The council approved the chicken facility application but only for 28 chicken sheds, down from the development application request of 48 sheds.

Each shed would house 60,000 chickens at any time, with neighbouring property owners objecting on the grounds of odour, dust, vehicle movements and water contamination issues.

The developers have appealed the council's decision in the Planning and Environment Court and argue the approval conditions are "unreasonable".

In court in Brisbane on Friday, counsel for Carr Farming Trust, Danny Gore, argued the council's 2012 draft planning policy released in February - a month after the poultry farm's partial approval - had an amended central provision now being used against his client in the case.

"The council has tightened up its planning scheme in direct response to my client's application," he said.
Mr Gore said the move hampered the Carr Farming Trust's appeal case.

The council's manager of strategic planning Jeannette Davis was responsible for drafting the new planning scheme, a process which took about four years.

Ms Davis told the court the chicken farm application gave the council a chance to look at the "ground truths" of intensive animal industry separation distances relating particularly to odour.

Ms Davis denied knowing the chicken farm development application had been finalised and confirmed she had no role in the decision-making process.

Public submissions received in response to the council's planning scheme opened up a new "line of inquiry" for ways to measure odour from intensive animal industry farms, the court heard.

The court heard a man from the poultry industry wrote a submission to the council about his concerns regarding the council's approach to odour restrictions.

Mr Gore slammed Ms Davis, a town planner with little experience in odour measurement, for using that document to make the man's industry worse.

The final day of the hearing follows a string of on-site tours of the proposed poultry farm site and various odour expert reports.

Judge David Searles ordered both legal teams submit written submission by next Friday.

Topics:  chicken farm, southern downs regional council, warwick




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