Intensive dairy farm plans for hundreds of cows approved despite opposition
Councillors said they saw no grounds to refuse an application for an 'intensive dairy complex' despite concern and opposition from residents.
Shropshire Council's Northern Planning Committee unanimously approved the proposal for Trefarclawdd Farm at Trefarclawdd, near Oswestry.
The plan was for a new milking complex, which would be a "much more intensive milking unit", seeing the farm go from 150 to 500 cows.
The plans include an 875 square metre 'modern covered holding yard for the dairy cows waiting to go into the parlour', as well as a slurry lagoon measuring 60m by 25m.
During this afternoon's meeting councillors heard from a number of objectors – raising concerns about the impact on the local environment, waterways, and roads.
Councillors were told that if the proposal was approved then they would consider a judicial review in a bid to block the proposal.
Councillor Joyce Barrow, who represents the St Oswald ward, spoke against the application – and withdrew herself from a vote on the proposal as a result.
She said: "The majority of residents of Coed-y -Go and the surrounding area are vehemently against this application."
She added that the plans had caused "real mental anguish for property owners".
The proposal is part retrospective, covering some work which has taken place at the farm which is not in accordance with previous planning approvals.
Councillor Barrow said: "They feel that this was an application put in piece-meal, on order to circumvent the planning process."
Oswestry Rural Parish Councillor Martin Bennett spoke at the meeting to articulate his council's opposition to the plan – arguing it was not compliant with Shropshire Council or national planning policies.
He also questioned whether Shropshire Council had checked the credentials of the evidence provided in an environmental impact statement with the proposal.
But, council planning officer Philip Mullineux said he was satisfied none of the concerns would amount to a reason to refuse planning permission.
He said: "Not one of the statutory consultees have objected."
He added: "If this was not acceptable with this environmental impact assessment why have none of these statutory consultees considered it not acceptable?"
Richard Corbett, from Roger Parry & Partners planning consultants, who represented the applicants, the Llanforda Estate, said the plans would be an "industry leading modernisation of a farm using the best technology".
Committee member, Councillor Vince Hunt, said he acknowledged local feeling over the proposals but could see no reason to refuse the plans.
He said: "It is a difficult one. This has been a protracted and ongoing thorn for some people."
He said that the "piece-meal approach" had "not served it reputationally as it might have".
He added: "I do not particularly have an issue with this application if I am honest. I have been reassured by our officers that the steps required, including the environmental impact assessment advice have been taken.
"This is a modern dairy farm in North Shropshire which is dairy farming country and I am minded to support this. Even if I was against it I cannot see any reasons in the application against it."
The proposal was unanimously approved.