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Dairy farm saga takes a new twist

Created on 13/04/2011 @ 16:36
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The saga over plans to build a 1,000-cow super dairy in Leighton has taken a new twist.
Some local residents have been joined by Coronation Street star Kate Ford in lambasting plans to build the facility close to the village’s school, citing environmental and health issues as well as claiming it would be unsightly. Even Powys Castle three miles away weighed in by saying it didn’t want to look out towards Leighton and see the development.
But following a string of stories highlighting those concerns, mywelshpool has come under increasing pressure to investigate the issue further and last night an independent and locally based dairy production consultant with wide ranging international experience but no involvement in the Leighton project gave it his full backing.
“Having carefully examined the design of this unit I can say that, if properly managed, it will produce the highest standards of environmental impact reduction, animal welfare and minimal nuisance to its neighbours,” said Mr. Malcolm Graham. “I would be quite happy for my kids to go to Leighton School after the dairy is built.”
His comments will frustrate protesters that oppose the plans submitted by local farmer Fraser Jones who says the development is vital in order to survive in the industry.
And Mr Graham gave the under fire young farmer his endorsement: “Whilst I have no involvement in this project I am confident to say that, from industry reputation, I have no concerns about the owners’ experience and competence and believe they can provide the management standards required.
“The facts surrounding this case are often exaggerated and hijacked by celebrities and others who often have prejudices and, in my view, ill informed views of modern food production that are irrelevant to this dairy development.
“My hope is the debate can be decided on the merits of this application within the regulations and settled by local people through the local democratic planning process.”
The campaign to oppose the plans has gathered momentum with Powys set to decide soon whether to give the plans the green light.
They were successful in blocking the first application when Mr Jones withdrew his application to have a re-think. His second application is now going through the planning process and has taking into account the comments and concerns of the protesters.
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