Young farmer's 1,000-cow dairy plan 'called in' by Welsh

THE farmer behind a proposed 1,000-cow dairy in Powys said he was ‘disheartened’ at the Welsh Government’s decision to review the planning application.

On Tuesday John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, officially ‘called in’ an application to extend an existing dairy, livestock buildings, fodder storage and slurry stores at Lower Leighton Farm, Leighton, near Welshpool.

In November last year Powys County Council’s planning committee said it was ‘minded to approve’ the application subject to a report on ‘outstanding issues’.

Following this week’s announcement, however, the dairy’s future lies in the hands of Welsh Ministers.

Fraser Jones, the farmer behind the proposed development, said he was disappointed at the Government’s decision, but ‘confident it will come up with the same outcome as Powys County Council’.

He added: “I am three years down the line with this planning application. I am disheartened by the Government’s decision and it will ultimately cost me more money.

“As a young farmer trying to make my mark in the industry it is disappointing to see all these barriers in my way. I am passionate about the industry and passionate about Welsh farming, but these kind of decisions do not build any confidence with me that farmers are getting the support they need.”

The 31-year-old currently runs 300 cows and said his ultimate aim was to hit 1,000-head of cattle.

A letter from the Welsh Government explaining the Minister’s reasons for calling in the planning application, stated Mr Griffiths was concerned it raised issues which ‘may be conflict with national planning policies’.

These include:

  •       Pollution risks associated with the slurry spreading in relation to the Coed Berwydd SSSI (Site of Scientific Interest)
  •        The proposed development’s impact on the view from Powis Castle

The letter also states: “In the Minister’s view there is insufficient information in these respects to show that all the relevant policy considerations have been fully addressed by Powys County Council’s planning committee in reaching its decision on the planning application.”

The World Society for the Protection of Animals, which has been working closely with local group CALFe to oppose the plans, said it was ‘delighted’ at the Welsh Government decision.

Readers' comments (2)

  • you have more chance of getting planning for stables than you have for a agricultural building on agricultural land ,,,says something about the idiots in planning

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  • These animal rights people haven't got a clue . If an animal is stressed or unhappy it will not reach it's full potential therefore it is in the farmers best interests to ensure that the animal is as comfortable as possible.The care and attention on these large units is second to none. I should state that I don't like the idea of these large units.I milk 110 cows but the pressure to increase is always there and until we are paid a realistic price for our produce there will be more and more large units applying for planning permission

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