Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YOGAZ to 80360 or send an email»
Apology demand over poultry unit comments made by Coun Tommy Woodward
11:14am Wednesday 29th August 2012 in News
COMMENTS made by a councillor during a debate on plans to allow a unit to house 30,000 hens have led to a demand for an apology.
Coun Tommy Woodward (Liberal) told Ryedale planning meeting on June 24 that he thought the broiler unit being planned by Andrew Farnell at Beech Tree House, Slingsby, represented “is farming of the worst kind”.
Mr Farnell already has two such units, where he keeps 60,000 birds, and has applied separately for a fourth.
The Gazette & Herald printed Coun Woodward’s comments in its report of the meeting and now Mr Farnell has demanded an apology from Coun Woodward.
In a letter to Anthony Winship, Ryedale District Council’s solicitor, Mr Farnell said: “I believe this is not a material planning consideration, it is a personal opinion and therefore should not have been shared with councillors in a public meeting.”
He quotes the members’ code which states councillors “should listen to the interests of all parties, including relevant advice from statutory and other professional officers, taking all relevant information into consideration, remaining objective and making decisions on merit”.
He accuses Coun Woodward of failing to show objectivity, saying: “He had a personal view which he expressed and carried through to voting.
“Coun Woodward should have been using planning legislation, documents and the officers report to make his decision, not personal opinion.”
Mr Winship informed Coun Woodward of the complaint and told him: “The remedy he seeks is as follows: Coun Woodward to receive additional planning and member code training.
“A personal apology for the comment made at the planning meeting which then appeared in the local newspaper”.
Coun Woodward told the Gazette: “I have been asked, via the council solicitor, to apologise for something I said at a recent planning meeting.
“My words were quoted in your paper dated August 1 and so I thought that your paper was the best place for my apology.”
And he has submitted the following: “The complainant, Andrew Farnell, appears to have got himself into a tizzy over my comments about his application for two new broiler sheds to house 60,000, yes 60,000 chickens.
“At that meeting I stated that broiler farming was “farming of the worst kind”.
“Therefore I wish to state that I fully regret the fact that Mr Farnell is so thin-skinned that my comments, amounting to five words, should upset him so much.
“I would also like to say that I wish he were as sensitive to the needs of the chickens in his broiler sheds as he appears to be when criticism is directed at him.
“May I repeat, broiler farming ‘is farming of the worst kind’ and I am truly sorry to have to say that, Mr Farnell”.