A Herefordshire poultry firm’s bid to upgrade and expand a farm at a sensitive spot has been rejected by a government-appointed inspector.

Corbett Farms of Shobdon sought planning permission in September 2022 to replace two “life-expired” sheds at Park Top Farm, Uphampton, with four “state-of-the-art” buildings to house 36,000 laying birds, and also to replace the poultry manager’s bungalow with a new two-storey house.

The firm had claimed that, combined with the closure of two other poultry units at nearby Ledicot, the proposal would be at least environmentally neutral overall.


Its application drew 26 individual objections locally, though Shobdon parish council was supportive.

Richard Corbett of the farm appealed against Herefordshire Council's failure to decide the application within the prescribed 13 weeks, entailing an appeal led by planning inspector Gareth Thomas.

In its submission to the planning enquiry, the council said it would have refused the proposal over its impact on the grade II listed Shobdon Park within which the farm lies, and also on nearby woodland and on the protected river Lugg and wider river Wye catchment.


Agreeing with the council, Mr Thomas said Corbett Farms' appeal submission “underplayed to a remarkable degree” the significance of the “nationally important” park in which the farm lies.

The proposal also “remains in conflict” with environmental regulations and policies, and “would lead to unacceptable harm to protected species”, he concluded.

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“The conservation status of the River Lugg SSSI (site of special scientific interest) and River Wye SAC (special area of conservation) remain for the time being at critical exceedance levels in terms of nitrogen and ammonia,” Mr Thomas pointed out.

As well as its notable historic gardens, the privately-owned parkland contains the rococo grade I listed Church of St John the Evangelist, a grade II* listed Garden Temple to its east, as well as The Arches and Shobdon Castle mound, both scheduled monuments.

Shobdon Court, a manor house, was demolished in the 1930s.