A PLANNING application for a 59,000-strong chicken farm on the outskirts of Bicester has been withdrawn after a major backlash from locals.

Plans for the free-range chicken farm in Lower Arncott were to go to Cherwell District Council tomorrow, but the planning committee has confirmed that applicant W Potters & Sons (Poultry) has withdrawn the application.

It was pulled after the planning meeting’s public agenda was published last Thursday.

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A spokesman for Cherwell District Council planning said: "We don’t know for sure why they have withdrawn, but it’s quite likely that they read the report from the case officer and didn’t want the hassle.

"It does happen from time to time. Clearly there were a number of reasons why it was not recommended."

The farm, which would have been almost 1.5 times bigger than Wembley Stadium football pitch, had received 52 letters of objection including objections from Arncott Parish Council, Blackthorn Parish Council, Piddington Parish Council, and Ambrosden Parish Council.

Plans for the 10-hectare poultry site included an egg production unit, gatehouse, three-bed house, garage and access off Palmers Avenue.

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Residents feared the pasture outside would be created within an area which often floods, and as a result faeces and pollutants from that area could potentially run into the nearby River Ray.

Another concern was the smell.

In the planning committee public agenda, the council was recommended to refuse the plan.