Plans for a rabbit meat farm in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have been met with outrage, prompting more than 6,000 people to sign a petition against it.

Phil Kerry has submitted plans to build a temporary rural worker’s house and agricultural building on land in Magpie Lane, in Coleshill, near Amersham.

The house will allow a worker to be on site as a 250-doe, free-range rabbit production unit is developed over the next three years.

The rabbit farm will occupy around two acres of the site.

Almost 30 objections have been submitted on the planning portal, with The Harte and Magpies pub owner Stephen Lever writing: “I own the pub/restaurant directly opposite the proposed rabbit farm.

“To have thousands of rabbits, considered to be vermin, in some parts, running around, so close to a commercial kitchen, does not bear thinking about.

“There would also be a concern of other creatures, rats, mice, foxes, attracted by the farm which could become a huge issue for us.

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“The driveway entrance is also due to be located directly opposite my back door and kitchen entrance, which could lead to unpleasant smells directed my way, where customers would also be in full view of said driveway.

“There is also the matter of the flat upstairs above the pub, where we live.

“We would have to look directly over the rabbit farm, not the view we would want, which could also in the future affect my property value and ability to sell.

“No rabbit farms please.”

And Chalfont St Peter resident Gill Hetherington said: "This is going to be a rabbit farm with creatures enclosed in cages (rabbits are social animals and become disturbed when confined) purely for breeding.

“The wire base of these cages will damage foot pads and therefore cause pain.

“I cannot believe in our enlightened age we propose to revert to the savage farming of old. [This is] Aside from the fact this will be industrial units on agricultural land in an area of AONB.”

An e-petition calling for refusal of the plans has garnered more than 6,700 signatures, with Rebecca Nicholson, who started the petition, writing: “We believe rabbit farming has no place in the 21st Century and that this “farm” should simply not be allowed to come into fruition.”

Chesham resident Sara Knight wrote: “The inhumane activity has no place in our town, not to mention the heavy burden it will place on tax payers to support the policing of the premises.”

The application said the breeding rabbits would be “shut-up during the period immediately prior to giving birth but are otherwise able to access outdoor grazing pens”.

Bucks Free Press: PICTURED: Magpie Lane. Image: GooglePICTURED: Magpie Lane. Image: Google

It also said their design of rabbit hutches meet government guidelines and are designed to last for 30 years. They feature recycled PVC cladding to residential standard, rubber roofs with a 30-year life expectancy and ceramic tiles as a floor.

They are claimed to be cooler for the rabbits in summer and easy to clean.

The progeny, or offspring, are reared outdoors, mainly for meat, while breeding stock is also marketed to breeders and smallholders.

The application states other animals may be sold as pets.

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Mr Kerry said demand for the products has been “extremely strong and increasing over many years”, with “surprising new routes to market” emerging during the pandemic.

See the plans online at the planning portal, using the reference PL/21/0130/FA.

The petition can be found at