MORE than 470 people have objected to controversial plans to build a chicken farm, which would slaughter about 760,000 birds a year.

AH Brown Farms sent plans to Tendring Council to build agricultural buildings for poultry production on land off Oakley Road, in Wix, early this year.

Consultees such as Essex County Council raised no issues with the application, but the plans have now received 473 objections from people with concerns about the smell of manure and traffic from lorries on country roads.

Suzanne Fleetwood, from Great Oakley, said in her objection to Tendring Council: “Having once lived near to a similar project, I have witnessed the negative effects to residents in respect of the smells created from such a farm, thus in turn leading to a negative impact health and wellbeing.”

Caroline Lindsay, of Harwich Road, Great Oakley, said she is concerned about elderly residents’ health.

She added: “To have this toxic enterprise running in this area could be potentially catastrophic to their health, having seen the irreversible damage to the surrounding area that this type of project can produce.”

In April, a petition by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) collected 17,000 signatures urging Tendring Council to reject the plans.

Adam Brown, of AH Brown Farms, is continuing to stand by the plans, but said he is taking residents’ concerns into account.

Mr Brown said: “The farm is a good opportunity for producing quality British chicken in Essex and Suffolk.”

He said many of the objections are linked to the PETA petition from people from outside of the area.

“There has been a lot of whipping up a storm in a tea cup, but the local views should be heard,” he added.

Mimi Bekhechi, director of international programmes at PETA, said: “The last thing that Essex needs is another factory farm like the one proposed in Wix.” Thousands upon thousands of intelligent, sensitive chickens would be crammed into a unit to spend their short lives in misery. Ammonia levels in these mega-facilities are so high that the corrosive substance often burns the birds’ lungs and skin, also emitting a foul stench that could make life grim for the human residents of the village as well. “Given all we know today about the cruelty and environmental devastation inherent in factory farming, we urgently need to move away from animal agriculture.”

And towards sustainable plant-based food – something the over 17,000 PETA supporters and hundreds of local individuals and groups who oppose the greenlighting of this monstrosity understand.