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Super dairy given the green light

 
Created on 02/11/2011 @ 08:21

 

Controversial plans to build the first super dairy in Wales close to Leighton school have been given the green light, after councillors ignored advice to reject it.
 
Powys Council's planning committee said it was "minded to approve" the application subject to a report on "outstanding issues", despite widespread opposition from villagers and a number of concerned national bodies.
 
The planning committee members voted twice. The first vote saw five councillors in favour and six against. But the second vote was on a motion that “the committee is minded to approve the application subject to a report coming back to committee on outstanding issues”. This was passed by six votes to four.
 
Afterwards, young farmer Fraser Jones told the BBC that he was “very excited and relieved” at the plans which he claims will turn around the fortunes of his ailing dairy business.
 
“I've put a lot of hard work in, and my agents, to overcome a lot of obstacles, and I'm glad the councillors saw the sort of work we'd done to overcome the difficulties. We've got some conditions to meet; internal road access is the main one.”
 
Council officers had recommended that planning approval should be refused but in a shock move, the advice that the scale, location and impact of the development "fundamentally conflicts" with the development plan was ignored.
 
But the development is still opposed by the Countryside Council for Wales, the historic monuments agency Cadw, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, the National Trust and Powys Teaching Health Board, which is concerned about air quality.
 
And in a statement last night, the Campaign Against Leighton Farm Expansion said it would continue the fight and called the decision “catastrophic”.
 
It said: “We are seriously shocked at the outcome. I don't understand how the councillors can vote against the impartial recommendations of their own planners who did a great, impartial job putting forward a damming report. They catalogued a series of miscalculations and missing information regarding the expansion.
 
“Our next step is to meet and discuss, but I think we plan to call it in with the Welsh Assembly Government.”
 
One campaigner was in tears as she stormed out of the meeting after the shock decision was revealed.
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