Bosses at the UK’s foremost poultry farm insist they are not closing down, despite submitting plans for 127 houses on the land.
Johnson and Swarbrick, known for their cornfed Goosnargh chicken and duck, say they have to “fully consider the future options for the site” in light of changing personal and trading circumstances.
They were rocked by the sudden death of poultry doyen Reg Johnson in November 2015, say they are approaching retirement age, and have temporarily stopped rearing ducklings due to a large increase in costs.
Now, in two applications to Preston Council, they are seeking outline planning permission to allow 40 houses to be built on land at Swainson Farm in Goosnargh Lane, Goosnargh, where there are extensive buildings connected to poultry production, as well as a further 87 homes on greenfield land north east of the farm.
Both sites would be accessed from Goosnargh Lane via the existing poultry farm and each development would include 35 per cent affordable housing.
Farm director Gillian Wells said: “There is housing up to our land on both sides, so all options have to be explored, but the farm continues. We have decided to give the duck sheds a rest for the time being, but we plan to continue in the future, and we’re still producing the corn-fed chicken and turkey.
“We have not written the farm off, not at all. But we have to test the waters.”