Let’s not call the whole thing off: Developers of huge tomato greenhouses appeal against refusal
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Developers behind plans worth £50m to build two large greenhouses in Wrexham have launched an appeal over the refusal of the proposals.
Brighton-based Low Carbon Farming submitted an application in August last year to install two 7.6 hectare commercial greenhouses near Marchwiel.
The company said the scheme would deliver 150 jobs and supply 40 per cent of the tomatoes consumed in Wales.
The firm later hit out at delays by Wrexham Council in deciding on the plans, which it said meant it had missed out on UK Government tariffs.
Planning officers announced they had denied permission for the project at the end of October because of concerns over the scale of the development, as well as the impact on traffic and local wildlife.
The company has now lodged an appeal to have the decision overturned after highlighting the economic benefits of the scheme, which would be located next to Dwr Cymru’s Five Fords waste water treatment works.
In an appeal statement sent to the Planning Inspectorate, agents acting on behalf of Low Carbon Farming said: “Planning policy recognises that there is a need for modern farm buildings such as that proposed and that farming practices need to ‘change and grow’.
“Support for innovative agri-tech proposals is provided through Future Wales and the proposals would contribute towards the circular economy having a productive and enterprising linkage with the adjacent waste water treatment works.
“Economic benefits weigh heavily in favour of the proposals with 150 new direct jobs being created in the clean and green economy at a time of mass redundancies in the local economy.
“Accordingly, whilst it is accepted that the site lies outside of settlement limits, it is considered that the principle of development is sound when considered against the development plan and other material considerations including national planning policy guidance.”
If the appeal is successful, the greenhouses would be used to capture both heat and carbon emissions from the Dwr Cymru facility.
The intention is to then use the waste products to grow significant quantities of low carbon fresh produce at the site.
Two similar developments by the company are already being constructed in East Anglia.
The planning agents added: “It has been demonstrated that the proposals can be technically delivered without any undue flood risk or biodiversity impacts and any landscape harm has been demonstrated as being of very limited and falling far short outweighing the benefits the proposals provide.
“It is therefore respectfully requested that full planning permission is granted, subject to conditions and a planning obligation.”
The appeal will be decided by an inspector appointed by the Welsh Government at a later date.