Massive chicken operation set to fly

A POULTRY farming group has the go-ahead to build a chicken processing farm capable of housing 1.68 million birds on 881.7ha near Warwick.

The proposal - which received myriad objections from neighbours about anticipated odour, dust, vehicle movements and water contamination issues - was approved in the Brisbane Planning and Environment Court this week.

Judge David Searles approved 28 sheds, which can each house up to 60,000 birds, on Cullendore Rd at Murrays Bridge, 20km south-east of Warwick.

Southern Downs Council planning and environment director Ken Harris said the council had not yet decided whether it would appeal the decision or take any further action.

Carr Farming Trust originally sought a material change of use approval in 2011 either as a broiler farm with 2.88 million birds or as a breeder farm with 720,000 birds across 48 sheds.

The farm operation would involve batches of one-day-old chickens being delivered to the farm from a hatchery, then leaving at various stages of growth for a processing plant.

They would be grown for about 56 days, averaging 5.6 cycles a year including clean-up time between each batch.

The council partially approved the application, for 28 sheds, in January this year, citing odour and noise as the reasons for refusing the rest.

The farm decided to appeal the decision, this time asking for 34 sheds.

The council subsequently decided to refuse the whole development, arguing if it was approved, the relevant lots should be amalgamated or have an ownership covenant until the proposed use ceased.

Judge David Searles of the Brisbane Planning and Environment Court approved the original 28 sheds and dismissed the above condition as "unreasonable"

He said Brad Carr, Carr Farming Trust's spokesman, ran a successful poultry farm operation at Caboolture and had been in the industry since he was age 14.

"There is not a scintilla of evidence to suggest he would not run his operation on this site as a responsible citizen," he said.

"The council says the amalgamation is an orthodox course to ensure buffering around a proposal to manage its impacts are secured for the long term.

"It says the subject land contains both developable area and vacant land which function as a buffer and those buffers should be maintained for the life of the poultry farm."

Judge Searles said a financial analyst gave evidence during the trial that amalgamating the lots would lead to "considerable reduction in the land value".



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