A CAMPAIGNER said she will 'continue to fight' for a chicken farm to close despite its plans to retain cladding on its warehouses being refused.

Applicant, Amber Real Estate Investments Ltd, was seeking planning permission to retain the 'goose-wing grey' cladding on five of its warehouses at Newbridge Farm in East Huntspill But Planning officers at Sedgemoor District Council refused the farm permission as they said the cladding 'appears dominant and out of keeping' with the surrounding area and has an 'adverse visual impact' which would affect the surrounding countryside.

Despite the decision, Julia Stanbury, a local resident and campaigner against the farm, has hit out at Sedgemoor District Council and said its has 'not followed' planning case law and used its powers to deem Newbridge Farm an unauthorised development.

"We are pleased that Sedgemoor District Council has maintained its position on the visual impact of the poultry sheds at Newbridge Farm and refused the application from Amber Real Estate Investments Ltd to keep the banned light-coloured ‘goose-wing grey’ roof material," Julia said.

"However, we remain disappointed that the council has not followed planning case law and exercised its powers to deem the Newbridge Farm development as unauthorised because of the conspicuous and significant breaches of planning permission by the site owner and operator.

"This would have meant the chicken farm operation would have to be shut down, which is our ultimate goal.

"We feel that the council has failed to take the tough decision required and is, in effect, ‘passing the buck’ by waiting for the applicant to appeal to the planning inspectorate to make a determination.

"In the meantime, the chicken farm operation, which appears to pay no rates, is allowed to continue to cause a nuisance to nearby council-tax paying residents, and business rate tourist-dependent businesses."

Julia and her husband, Ian Stanbury, are among residents who have been campaigning against the poultry farming units through a group called 'Fowl Play at East Huntspill.'

She claims the council says ongoing odour issues at the site are 'not their concern' and said she will continue to campaign for its closure.

"We cannot understand the council’s position because the original planning permission was granted in 2011 on the basis 'the development will not cause unacceptable levels of noise or odour'," Julia said.

"It is the council’s responsibility to ensure such a development is in an appropriate location so that environmental impacts can be controlled through, in this case, an Environmental Permit issued by the Environment Agency.

"Even if this was not known in 2011 when the original planning permission was granted, there is plenty of evidence that points toward the chicken farm operation being in a totally inappropriate location now, let alone when the Brue Farm development of 950 houses and a school is within range of the unacceptable levels of odour."

But a spokesman for Sedgemoor District Council said the application is 'not directly related' to the odour concerns being raised by residents and the council cannot close the farm down as it is not within their remit.

"Whilst there remains some discrepancies between the built development and the plans originally approved, these consist of the two of the buildings being slightly smaller and the colour tone of the roof as discussed above," the spokesman said.

"Given the application for seeking to retain the roof colour has been refused the council will initiate formal enforcement action regarding this breach and the applicant will have the opportunity to appeal the refusal of the planning consent and any enforcement action regarding the roof colour as is the normal practice."

A spokesman for Amber Real Estate Investments Ltd said it is 'business as usual' at the farm and they will be lodging a formal appeal against the decision in due course.