Mushroom farm chief in quit warning

THE man behind controversial multi-million-pound expansion plans for a North Yorkshire mushroom farm says he may consider building it elsewhere.

Greyfriars – which ships in 1,000 lorryloads of mushrooms from Poland each year – has provoked outrage with plans for a 73,300 sq ft building near Ripon with 12 growing rooms to produce an extra 150,000lb every week, which it says will replace imports.

Harrogate Council rejected three different applications last year for the 4.5m expansion, as well as a formal bid to cut down an oak protected by a tree preservation order and during an appeal against the decision last week it emerged the council is considering an enforcement order against the firm.

Another planning inquiry has now been scheduled for around six months time, but John Smith, managing director of the firm admits he is now considering building the expansion in East Yorkshire.

He said: "They mentioned an enforcement order but they have got nothing to enforce. I'm absolutely certain this won't amount to anything.

"We are also considering a site in East Yorkshire. Events may have overtaken us in six months.

"It is our intention to still build on this site but we cannot wait forever to get planning permission when we are faced with questionable delays."

A spokesman for Wath Against Mushrooms, a village action group formed in protest to the plans, said: "Back in the summer we were calling for a public planning inquiry and we are delighted that the plans for this controversial site – which we say will be the largest mushroom production complex in Europe – will now be heard in this way.

"We already have lorries coming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from across Europe and the roads here are narrow country lanes

"Our basic point remains the same – this is entirely the wrong location for a massive food production and packing business."