THE original poultry company that wanted to build a huge chicken farm near Bicester has gone into administration, leaving £1.8 million of debt.

W Potters & Sons (Poultry) Ltd submitted proposals last year to build a 59,000-strong chicken farm in Lower Arncott, which it later withdrew after objections.

The company went into administration on June 4 due to a lack of cashflow, the impact of the coronavirus and expensive legal costs of up to £350,000 due to a legal dispute with a customer.

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There have been claims that the company was in £3.4 million of debt and that other companies associated have been taken down with it, but company director Justin Potter said this was a ‘complete fabrication’.

He said the company was in £1.8 million of debt.

A new chicken farm proposal, refused by Cherwell District Council last week, was put forward on March 25 by W Potters & Sons Ltd - the holdings company - which Mr Potter said would have run the site.

However, the council has now said it thought the chicken farm would have been run under W Potters & Sons (Poultry) Ltd – the company that went into administration.

Also read: Plans for chicken farm in Arncott near Bicester are withdrawn

The council has said it was provided with trading accounts for that company, and said it found no problems with its finances.

A planning officer wrote in their final report: "In terms of confidence that the business would remain viable, the existing business, W. Potters & Sons (Poultry) Limited, have provided three years trading accounts which show that the existing business is financially viable."

The council says it was not made aware of the fact that the company had gone into administration earlier this month, but said this would not have affected its refusal of the application.

A spokesman said: “The onus is on the applicant to provide accurate information about the financial viability of their business.

“We didn’t know about the business going into administration, and this appears to have happened some time after the planning application was received and the agricultural consultants completed their assessment of the business.

“In any case this information wouldn’t have affected the decision reached by planning committee.”

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W Potters & Sons (Poultry) Ltd has now been bought by a new subsidiary of W Potters & Sons Ltd called Potters Poultry.

This new company, that provides the same services as the original one, has the same directors.

Mr Potter said he still needed time to decide whether to appeal the council’s refusal decision last week.

Bullingdon Prison was amongst the195 objectors to the planning application, saying the 'foul' smell from the site would have affected prison life.