A MASSIVE slurry lagoon has been built without planning consent on farmland near the South West Coast Path.
The huge pit, 300ft long and 150ft wide, can hold 29,000 cubic metres of farm slurry.
That's the equivalent of 11 Olympic-size swimming pools of liquid manure.
Torridge District Council has now received a retrospective planning application for the lagoon at Beckland Farm, near Hartland.
The farm lies in the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in a Coastal Protection Area.
The applicant is Peter Willes, who owns North Devon cheese business Parkham Farms.
He was also involved in controversial plans for a so-called mega-dairy in Norfolk last year.
Last year Mr Willes applied for permission to build a 31,200 cubic metre slurry lagoon on a different part of the farm.
But that application was withdrawn in October following a number of objections.
In December work began on constructing the lagoon for which permission is now being sought.
Torridge District Council was told last year that Beckland Farm has a herd of 1,000 Holstein dairy cows.
At that time the farm had the capacity to store slurry for only six weeks – ten weeks short of the minimum required by the Environment Agency.
The new lagoon will allow slurry to be stored for six months.
But the Ramblers' Association has written to express unease about the application.
In a letter the organisation said a footpath runs near the lagoon and it is concerned with the health and safety of walkers using the footpath.
The previous application was described by Hartland Parish Council as "environmentally insensitive" in an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.
The council expressed concern about the size of the slurry lagoon and the increase in traffic involved in the export of excess slurry.
The latest application is due to be discussed at Hartland Parish Council's meeting tonight.
Last year's application was also opposed by the owners of nearby properties.
The National Trust, which owns land nearby, also objected to the previous application, as did the Torridge District Group of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Nobody from Parkham Farm wanted to comment on the application.