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The Hurst threatened by poultry unit development

The future of The Hurst, our Shropshire centre, could be in jeopardy if plans to build an industrial scale poultry unit next door get the go ahead.

On December 6 Shropshire Council will decide whether to grant planning permission for a poultry unit housing up to 100,000 chickens on farm land close to Clun. The land is adjacent to The Hurst, in the AONB South Shropshire hills countryside.

We fear that if the large poultry unit is built just 850 metres from the site the impact from noise, smell and dust will threaten its operation at The Hurst, with knock-on effects for the rest of the charity.  The Grade II-listed Hurst, built in 1813, underwent a £2.3 million renovation in 2013 supported by Arts Council England. However, the combination of the visual eyesore of two industrial-scale chicken broiler units, the smell of ammonia, toxic dust and noise from the 44 tonne lorries clearing out the unit in the night could seriously impact on whether people choose to come on its writing courses and retreats.

The Hurst has a significant effect on the local economy as over 800 people come to Arvon’s writing courses and retreats held there each year. Eight permanent staff are employed at the 19 bedroom house and 26 acre estate. It is estimated that over £170,000 is spent by Arvon each year in the area, purchasing food and services from local suppliers and tradespeople, such as food suppliers and caterers, cleaners, taxi drivers, plumbers and builders.

Chief Executive of Arvon, Ruth Borthwick says “The arrival of these broiler sheds would undermine the investment we have made at The Hurst, supported by that of the taxpayer, over a 14 year period. We cannot stand by and see our charitable work destroyed by such an inappropriate development two fields away. Writers since AE Housman have been drawn to this valley for its beauty and tranquility. This must be preserved for future generations of writers. John Osborne called the view from The Hurst ‘probably the best view in England’. If Shropshire Council allows the building of these sheds it will be ruined forever.”

You can sign the online petition to protect ‘the best view in England’  here.

You can file an objection with Shropshire Council here.


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