Boxford: Complaints over ‘eyesore’ coops on ‘special landscape’

A MAN who rescued 100 battery-hens and set them up on rented farmland in Boxford has found himself at the centre of a planning dispute.

Animal-lover Robin Windmill, 42, installed the chickens on land next to Roylands Lane 18 months ago and he sells the eggs in the village.

But after he erected a series of ramshackle chicken hutches on what is described as a “special landscape” area, residents of seven neighbouring houses complained to the council about the noise, smell and the potential health risks.

So Babergh District Council instructed Mr Windmill to submit a formal planning application for a 20m by 15m building with a food store and staff facility to replace the temporary buildings.

Mr Windmill said: “My family and I just want to keep a few chickens as a hobby and most people in the village have been really supportive of what we’re doing.


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“I am aware that the site is not the prettiest place at the moment and I have been willing to do everything I can to improve the situation, but the neighbours seem dead set on getting me off the land.”

One of them, Brian Howe, said: “We were initially tolerant of Mr Windmill’s efforts and we even gave him access to water. But from the start of this year, it has become a shambles with escaped chickens digging up our plants and wandering into the main road.

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“Boxford is in a conservation area surrounded by special landscape areas and this site has become an eyesore which is totally inappropriate to the surroundings.”

Babergh councillor Bryn Hurren has called for a site visit before the application is discussed by the planning committee at the end of October.

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