Rotten odours and smells “like death” were picked up by sniff tests at a site where developers want to build up to 375 homes in Newent.

Robert Hitchins Ltd plans to build the new homes along with a primary school and new employment land south of Gloucester Street in Newent is currently going through the planning process at Forest of Dean District Council, writes Carmelo Garcia.

Consultants working on the scheme say the new estate would provide a range of one to five bedroom homes.

And they believe proposals demonstrate that a high quality, responsive and sustainable development is achievable and deliverable for land south east of Newent.

However, more than 2,000 people oppose the proposals which also include a new centre which could have shops, cafés and a hot food takeaway would cover almost 60 acres of agricultural land.

And if the development gets the go-ahead, future dwellers may have to put up with “very unpleasant and acrid” smells.

An air quality assessment conducted on behalf of the applicant and published earlier this year says bad odours were picked up at the site.

Odours described by the assessor as “rotten, very unpleasant, acrid” were detected on July 20, 2020 up to 257 yards from the boundary of the Freemans of Newent chicken factory.

The report says identifiable odours were only detected for 17% of the time at this location, resulting in a slight adverse impact.

This was during north-north-westerly winds when odours generated by the poultry processing unit (PPU) were being transported to the areas of development land to the south of the facility.

The odours described as “rotten, very unpleasant, acrid” which resulted in moderate adverse impacts were detected at all locations close to the PPU and at one location around 109 yards from it.

The report said at 17 of the 30 test locations, the odour impacts were negligible.

Further test results on July 24, that year, were undertaken during south-westerly winds when odours generated by the chicken factory were being transported to the areas of development land to the east and northeast of the facility.

“Odours related to ‘chicken, barn’ dominated the odours during this site visit; however, highly offensive and extremely unpleasant odours described by the assessor as ‘rotten, death’ were detected at locations 16, 27 and 29 where moderate, slight and slight adverse impacts were identified, respectively.

“The sniff tests have demonstrated that odours related to the PPU can be detected at frequencies and intensities to result in adverse impacts up to 284 yards downwind of the PPU.

“The results of the sniff tests also suggest that the most odorous areas of the PPU are located to the south and southwest of the facility, with processes generating odours lower in intensity and offensiveness located to the north and east of the facility.

The air quality report also looked at the impact of the nearby sewage treatment works (STW) operated by Severn Trent.

The findings of the odour risk assessment suggest that the sewage treatment works will have a slight adverse effect on worst-case sensitive receptor locations, and the PPU will have a moderate adverse effect on the worst-case locations.

“Similarly, the findings of the sniff tests have demonstrated that the PPU will lead to moderate adverse effects at distances up to 284 yards downwind of the facility.”

This assessment determined that the overall odour effects from the STW at the proposed development is ‘not significant’.

The planning application which was submitted to Forest of Dean District Council was expected to be considered by July 27 but has yet to be determined.