Egg producer submits plans for new 237-acre farm

Three new sheds will be built by egg producer Fridays, at a cost of £3m each
Three new sheds will be built by egg producer Fridays, at a cost of £3m each

UK egg producer Fridays is planning a multi-million-pound free range development on a 237-acre site in Kent despite local opposition.

The company - already one of the leading producer-packers - has submitted a planning application to Maidstone Borough Council for units housing a total of 192,000 free range layers.

Three sheds, each housing 64,000 birds and built with the addition of winter gardens, will be built at a cost of £3 million each.

Fridays says the development would be state-of-the-art, although some locals residents near the site at Chainhurst, near Marden are opposing the scheme.

The opponents have formed an action group called We Love Chainhurst and are raising money for their campaign through GoFundMe.

They claim the development could result in contamination of the river Beult - a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) - from run-off of poultry waste.

They are also objecting to the impact of additional heavy goods vehicles on rural roads both during construction and once the site is operational.

The campaigners say the sheds would impact the environment and wildlife, and they say footpaths would need to be temporarily diverted or closed.

However, Fridays says that, as part of the scheme, it plans to plant 20 hectares of new native species woodland as well as "embracing and retaining" areas of existing woodland.

The company says it also intends to create a riverside walk along the banks of the River Beult to link with the existing network of public rights of way.

Fridays, a family run business based at Cranbrook in Kent, has set up a separate web page under the name Wealden Woods Free Range to pursue its case for planning permission.

On the site, its says: "Over the last decade we have expanded our production of free range eggs to meet growing UK demand and to help reduce imports of eggs from Europe.

"We will be seeking permission from Maidstone Borough Council for the construction and operation of a new free range egg farm on land at Reed Court Farm, Hunton Road, Chainhurst."

An application for planning permission has now been lodged with the council.