Farm plans protest

PUBLISHED: 15:38 09 November 2007 | UPDATED: 23:08 28 May 2010

COUNCILLORS are battling to stop further expansion at a Fenland farm after claiming the business has outgrown its present site. Whittlesey Town Council is urging a site meeting before Fenland District Council s planning committee rules on the latest appli

COUNCILLORS are battling to stop further expansion at a Fenland farm after claiming the business has outgrown its present site.

Whittlesey Town Council is urging a site meeting before Fenland District Council's planning committee rules on the latest application by P G Packaging.

The company wants to convert a shed/barn to offices at Kingsland Farm, March Road, Coates, and add an extension which could help double the workforce to 50.

Planning officer Gareth Martin says apart from the town council only one resident has objected to the proposal on the grounds that it would make the site "more of a transport hub every time an application is granted".

In his report to next week's committee meeting Mr Martin says the company has been operating from the site since 1996 with two parts to the business, one side buying packaging material which is then sold to the contract farmers, while the other side buys fruit and sells it to major supermarkets.

"The majority of the packaging materials come from the UK whereas the fruit can be from anywhere in the world," he says.

Mr Martin concedes there have been "a substantial number of applications" from PG over the years but these have enabled a busy and successful business to prosper.

He says the scale and design of the proposals are acceptable, and while there will be an increase in height it is not likely to result in any harm to the open character of the countryside.

The nearest home is 100 metres away "and the building and noise from any car park will not cause harm to the amenity of neighbouring occupiers".

Inevitably, however, there will be an increase in cars but once the access has been upgraded, officers were satisfied it could cope.

Extras jobs "will assist the rural economy and strengthen the existing status of the business", adds Mr Martin.

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