A 59,000-strong chicken farm almost 1.5 times bigger than Wembley Stadium football pitch could be built on the outskirts of Bicester.

Major plans for a new free-range chicken farm will go to Cherwell District Council next Thursday against a strong backlash from concerned neighbours.

The 10-hectare poultry site would include an egg production unit, gatehouse, three-bed house, garage and access off Palmers Avenue, Lower Arncott.

Plans, put forward by W Potters & Sons (Poultry), include a profiled metal-clad poultry building for 59,000 birds.

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They will be brought in as young laying stock and produce eggs for about 14 months, before being removed and the building fully cleaned and restocked.

There will be a pasture outside bordered by a 1.2m high electric fence, and eggs would be collected three times a week by HGVs.

More than 50 letters of objection have been sent to the council including objections from Arncott Parish Council, Blackthorn Parish Council, Piddington Parish Council, and Ambrosden Parish Council.

Arncott Parish Council commented that a major concern is the smell, stating: "Ambrosden villagers suffer from many instances of significant odour issues throughout each year from the chicken farm situated close to that village.

"In periods of hot weather those odours make it especially difficult for those residents to live comfortably if they have to have their doors and windows open.

"With winds blowing in the right direction that would also be the case for the Arncott residents if this facility is built."

A resident added: "We already have the odour of slurrying on farms, how much worse when there is a constant supply there, or being moved.

"I do not believe it has anything to offer this area, even work-wise it is not a business that will generate many jobs."

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Current plans say 14 tonnes of waste will be removed from the building every 10 days.

Ambrosden resident Andrew Wilson added: "Ammonia from chicken faeces is a danger to the environment and humans and can upset the ecosystems of our local wildlife sites, which includes endangered hedgerows, birds, insects and vegetation to the north of the proposed site."

Residents fear the pasture will be created within an area which often floods, and as a result faeces and pollutants from that area could potentially run into the nearby River Ray.

Another resident who has lived in Arncott for two years, Tania Tipping, said: " I chose this location for peace, quiet and a healthy environment for both myself and my family.

"My real worry and concern is the risk it may have on wildlife and the health on four neighbouring villages which is not fully understood.

"There is insufficient information about the chicken odour or the effects of pollutants within the odour report commissioned by the applicant.

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"Please don't let this go ahead, save our health and environment."

The Environment Agency warned that developers would have to prove there to be no detrimental impact from ammonia releases before being giving a permit to run.

An impact assessment by developers said ammonia emission rates would be below the Environment Agency standards.

The design and access statement says: "The building is intelligently and sympathetically designed and strikes a balance between practical and economic efficiency and minimal landscape impact.

"Adequate provision is made for the disposal of foul and surface water drainage and animal wastes without risk to watercourses through a sustainable drainage technique."

A decision will be put to the council on Thursday, August 15, at Bodicote House in Banbury from 4pm.

For more details search 19/00644/F on