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Grassington milk processing plant allowed to expand despite objections
12:00pm Thursday 19th September 2013 in News
Controversial plans to extend a milk processing plan at Town Head Farm, Grassington, won approval on a knife-edge vote.
Eight members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee voted in favour of the application – which was part retrospective – and seven voted against.
In what authority chairman Peter Charlesworth described as an excellent debate, members discussed what the balance should be between the economic advantages of approving the extensions to the Dales Dairies milk processing plant compared with the detrimental impact upon the amenity of those living nearby and upon the landscape.
County Coun John Blackie argued: “We are talking about employment in an area that is not over endowed with employment.
“We are talking about sustaining dairy farms, particularly small dairy farms – the very heart and soul of our national park (with its) wonderful landscapes. It’s a great shame we can’t have the prosperity without the impact it imposes on some people.”
Craven district councillor John Roberts pointed out that Dales Dairies employed more than 50 people and also helped 15 local farms to continue with dairy herds.
“We have lost two dairy farms in Wharfedale in the last two years,” he said. “The fostering of economic wellbeing is a material consideration.”
He said that although he had originally been against giving approval and still felt that the milk processing plant was in the wrong place, the applicant had now addressed all his concerns.
This included the use of cladding to reduce noise and parking some of the fleet of vehicles overnight at Cracoe.
But Andrew Colley, who declared a personal interest on the basis that he was a resident of Grassington, had a B&B business in Wood Lane which was affected by the traffic and was a member of Grassington Parish Council, argued that Dales Dairies should move to a better site with good road access and facilities.
The parish council also objected to the application, saying it would adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbouring properties and the environment of the surrounding area and would result in unacceptable traffic levels.
County Coun Shelagh Marshall said that there had been a significant change of use from agricultural to industrial at Town Head Farm and added that if so many stringent conditions were needed the committee should question giving approval. She did not believe that the economic arguments overrode the fact that the amenity of residents would be affected from 7am to 7pm each day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
However, it was pointed out that the Highways Authority had not objected to the application, nor had the district council’s environmental health department.
n Report by ARC News.
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