REMOVING six large fans that cool a chicken shed will, it’s hoped, reduce noise complaints from neighbours, councillors have been told.
Michael Rees, of Atherstone Farm near St Maughan’s, near the River Monnow on the Wales/England border north of Monmouth, had wanted to retain an earth bund and 10 fans on the north west gable wall of his poultry unit at the farm that produces free range eggs.
But following discussions with Monmouthshire Council it was agreed to remove the earth bund and replace the six larger fans with four quieter fans to address noise complaints from nearby residents, with a row of smaller fans retained.
Llantilio Crossenny, councillor Ian Chandler spoke at the county council’s planning meeting on behalf of “a number of residents adversely affected by the fans” whose homes are to the north of the shed.
He said they have suffered from the noise from the fans for five years since they were installed in 2018, but did not object to the application – although they wanted assurances it would address the noise.
The councillor said the fans don’t generate a “constant hum” but create an “intrusive noise” when they kick into action.
Monmouthshire’s environmental health department has said it expects residents in the nearby homes will still hear the fans “from time to time” but “at a reduced level”.
As a result it said it couldn’t object to the application but to ensure that the fans are fitted, managed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, the farmer will have to submit a report by a qualified acoustic consultant, within three months of installation, to show the reduced levels have been achieved.
Cllr Chandler said residents wanted assurances those checks would be carried out “in appropriate weather conditions and on different days to provide certainty” and said the noise is usually worse on dry days, which are typically when residents will be in their gardens or have their windows open.
The Green Party councillor also said the fans were required due to the increase in the number of birds in the shed, and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales had also objected due to the noise levels.
Chepstow Labour councillor Dale Rooke said he couldn’t understand why the earth bund was being removed but environmental health officer Anthony Davies said it could be reinstated if needed though he understood a new construction would be needed to adapt to the new fans.
Llangybi Fawr Conservative Fay Bromfield proposed the committee backed the recommendation to approve the application. She said: “As far as I can see the applicant has tried to make improvements and I’d like to propose we approve this application.”
The application was approved by all 12 committee members who voted. Cllr Chandler isn’t a member of the planning committee so wasn’t able to vote on the application.