An intensive poultry farm in north Shropshire could soon house almost half a million chickens under plans expected to be approved next week.

The proposals for Meadowland farm in Sleap, near Harmer Hill, would see three new chicken sheds built, each housing 47,500 birds, bringing the total number at the site from 318,000 to 460,500.

Shropshire Council planning officers say the new units should be approved, despite concerns over odour and lorry traffic.

Myddle, Broughton and Harmer Hill Parish Council has objected to the plans, saying: “The odour report shows clearly that the existing odour measurements taken at the farm are far greater than measurements collected at any other point in the locality.

“The proposed increase in the number of poultry will further increase the odour to the detriment of those living or active in the area.

“The transportation of chicken manure from the farm to the processing plant at Whitchurch will, apart from the increased smell, mean considerably more large vehicles using narrow roads that are not constructed for this type of vehicle, leading to congestion and road damage.”

Wem Town Council also commented, saying if the application is approved there should be a condition attached preventing lorries from the farm travelling through Wem.

There was one objection from a nearby farm, raising concerns about noise, smell, light pollution and traffic.

However a report by planning officer Richard Denison says there is strong national and local policy support for agricultural businesses.

The report says each of the new units, and one of the six existing units, will be fitted with air scrubbers, meaning there will be no odour impact on nearby residential properties.

The addition of the three new sheds will see the number of HGV movements to and from the farm increase from 1,710 per year to 2,460, but Mr Denison’s report says highways officers are satisfied the local road network can cope with this increase.

The report says: “It is clear from the transport assessment that the HGVs utilise the main road network, although use a short 1.75km section of Burma Road.

“This is a tarmac road which is maintained by the council and is used by a number of large vehicles for commercial businesses, the airfield and farms at Sleap.”

Addressing Wem Town Council’s concerns, the report adds: “No evidence has been submitted indicating that existing vehicles are travelling through Wem or that this is causing any highway impact.

“The transport statement provides confirmation that vehicles are not taking the route through Wem and are using the shortest route along main B-roads to access the main A49 trunk road.”

The application will be decided by the northern planning committee at a meeting next Tuesday (March 7).