PLANS to build a chicken farm which would raise around 750,000 birds destined for slaughter every year have been recommended for approval - despite a wave of almost 500 letters of objection.

Tuesday’s meeting of Tendring Council’s planning meeting marks crunch time for AH Brown Farms, which is bidding to build agricultural buildings for poultry production on land off Oakley Road in Wix.

Consultees including the Environment Agency and Essex County Council have waved through the application but the plans have received more than 480 objections.

Concerns have been raised ranging from animal welfare worries to fears over the potential smell.

The plans were referred to the planning committee at the request of Oakleys and Wix councillor Mike Bush, who said the farm would bring “no benefit” to the area.

He said: “This industrial chicken raising factory is stated to create two local jobs.

“The broiler hens are transported from Norfolk and returned to Norfolk at the end of each cycle - 750,000 annually excluding the dead carcasses.

“The chick feed comes from Norfolk, the carcass collectors come from Norfolk, the chicken manure returns to Norfolk at the end of cycle.

“The chicken catchers are transported in from Norfolk.”

He added: “The toxic waste risk is extremely high along with the stink which, with a prevailing wind, will effect both Wix and Great Oakley as far down as All Saints School.

“There will be in excess of 25 heavy goods vehicle movements turning into the Oakley Road via the Wix memorial triangle on Harwich Road every cycle.

“This application has no sustainable benefit economically, socially and environmentally, carrying huge safety and health risks to our community.”

A petition by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals collected 17,000 signatures urging Tendring Council to reject the plans.

But a spokesman for the farm said the buildings would ensure the “highest standards” for the chickens, while keeping the surrounding area “free from odour”.

“This unit will operate to Britain’s world-leading food safety, welfare and environmental standards,” he said.

“It’s been sensitively sited to reduce any visual impact and we have worked carefully throughout to address concerns.”

“The proposed buildings are of the highest specification to ensure the highest standards for the chickens and that the surrounding environment is maintained and is free from odour.

“The farm has been approved and been granted a permit by the Environment Agency in line with their strict criteria, to which we will be regularly accessed.

“Sales of poultry meat are continuing to grow year-on-year in the UK and this development will help to meet that demand - producing safe, nutritious and affordable British food to British standards.

“This demand for maintaining high British standards has been highlighted by Jamie Oliver’s Food Standards campaign, with over 1 million people signing his petition in its first week.”

The planning committee meeting will take place at 6pm on Tuesday.