Plans to build a 1,000 cow dairy farm in Mid Wales would ‘unacceptably’ change the setting of the historic Offa’s Dyke footpath and ruin views from the nearby Powis Castle, a public inquiry has heard.
Farmer Fraser Jones wants to expand Lower Leighton Farm, near Welshpool, to include a ‘mega dairy’ which would house 1,000 cattle next to Leighton Primary School.
But local residents and animal welfare groups have voiced their anger at the plan, which includes three large buildings, a fodder storage unit, two slurry stores and a water storage tower.
Mr Jones says he has gone to great lengths to address concerns.
Yesterday a public inquiry into the application got under way at Powys County Council’s Neuadd Maldwyn building in Severn Street, Welshpool.
Historic settlements expert and archaeologist Eileen Griffiths said it was her conclusion that the dairy farm would have a detrimental affect on the Offa’s Dyke path, which passes nearby and the National Trust’s Powis Castle estate.
She said: “In my view the proposal would unacceptably change the setting of Offa’s Dyke and change the positive impact it has into a negative one.
“The aesthetic impact and country values of tranquillity would also be changed by this.
“Looking at Powis Castle’s gardens, they were designed to take in the background scenery and this would also be turned from a positive into a negative by the construction of the development.
“The views to the east from the castle were kept in mind during its development and this proposal would not be characteristic with that.”
Before the inquiry, villagers said the dairy would be too close to their homes and the school and objections have been raised about noise, smell, flies, pollution, increased traffic, the size of the development and its visual impact.
A local action group, known as Calfe (Campaign Against Leighton Farm Expansion), was formed to oppose the dairy development, and the scheme has attracted criticism from the National Trust, which is concerned about the visual impact on Powis Castle.
But Mr Jones has said he intends to plant trees to screen the dairy and said he had thought the application through to monitor flies, the smell and animal welfare.
The hearing continues.