A bid to permit a caravan and barn in the Herefordshire countryside to support a game bird rearing business has been rejected as “wholly unsustainable”.

The retrospective application by Gareth Morgan of Black Bridge Game, also given as Willow Game, sought permission for a key-worker residential caravan for three years to support the rearing of around 20,000 pheasants and partridge a year on farmland south of Leintwardine.

As Mr Morgan also intended to hatch birds on the site, this would require an on-site presence, the application explained, adding that the operation also involved lit mobile sheds and outdoor gas heaters.


Supporting the application, nearby resident Roger Midwood said: “Mr Morgan has also provided pheasant poults for our modest shoot this season (2022/23) and I expect him to also do this indefinitely in the future.

“As well as needing to be on-site to rear his pheasants, Mr Morgan is able to manage the provision of pheasants to us with the minimum of stress to the birds and at an appropriate time.”

But neighbour Paul Oatley said the enterprise “has already been carried out without consent” and was “detrimental to the area’s landscape value and conservation importance”.


The nearby Downton Estate also objected, pointing out that there had been no application for change of land use to game rearing.

“The seasonal nature of rearing pheasants does not require an essential need for a worker to have a year-round overnight presence,” the estate said.

The council’s ecology officer said no scheme had been submitted to manage foul water from the business, which would lead to additional nutrients being discharged directly in to the nearby River Teme site of special scientific interest (SSSI), “that is already in an unfavourable condition”.

The birds would also “create additional air pollution”, impacting on the Downton Gorge reserve further downstream, which is “already exceeding its conservation status air emission deposition levels”, he said.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust called the application “incomplete and misleading” as it had answered “no” to the question of whether protected or designated habitat sites lay nearby.

Refusing the application, planning officer Amber Morris concluded that the proposal was “wholly unsustainable and without justification”.

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