Bid to build cement mixing plant on dairy farm in North Yorkshire recommended for approval

A proposal to add a ready mix concrete plant to a rapidly-expanding commercial and industrial complex on a dairy farm have been recommended for approval.

It comes despite residents’ claiming its economic benefits would be outweighed by an “unacceptable impact on a large number of residents”.

North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee will on Tuesday (Mar 8) consider Metcalfe Farms’ ambition to produce up to 25,000m3 of concrete a year with sand, gravel and limestone trucked in from quarries near Masham, Scorton and Catterick on land at Washfold Farm, north of Leyburn.

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The meeting will hear alongside 1,300 pedigree Holstein cattle on the 2,965-acre farm, diversification schemes on the site have led to the farm becoming one of the biggest employment sites in the Yorkshire Dales area, with 215 staff.

Washfold Farm in Leyburn

Developments include a commercial and automotive repair business, a shotblasting, paint-spraying and fabrication unit and agricultural and haulage ventures, with a fleet of 100 HGVs and a similar number of trailer units based at the farm.

Documents submitted by the firm claim the plant would see seven jobs created and would not result in any significant adverse impact upon residents, particularly as the forecast 54 extra HGV daily movements in and out the site would be from a new access road linked to the Redmire Road.

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The application states: “The establishment of the plant will sustain the Metcalfe Farms enterprise providing important support services to local farms and small development taking place within the Dales being a logical expansion of a rural business and diversification of the agricultural economy.”

Leyburn Town Council has welcomed Metclafe Farms’ move to broaden the base of the business, increase employment opportunities and its pledge to keep HGVs off Moor Road and out of the town centre.

In its response to the scheme a Bellerby Parish Council said: “The landowner is known in Bellerby for working with the communities and for sensitive consideration of their concerns over flooding with the planting of large numbers of trees and development of ponds on site.”

The proposal has also been given the thumbs up by highways bosses on the basis that that all HGVs use a new access road apart from those involved in local deliveries of prepared concrete.

However, some residents have claimed the rural roads would not cope with the increase in HGVs and that they were bound to suffer noise, vibration, dust and health impacts from a concrete mixing plant.

Objectors have stated the scheme represented “further diversification away from agricultural use creating a large agricultural-industrial complex on the outskirts of Leyburn”.

They added the development’s “relatively small number of jobs and economic benefits are outweighed by the unacceptable impact on a large number of Leyburn residents including those of Moor Road”.

Recommending the plan be approved, the council’s planning officers have concluded the local roads are capable of handling the extra volume of traffic, while its impact on the environment and neighbouring homes could be mitigated.

The officers’ concluded: “Any adverse impacts are outweighed when considered against the provision of an additional facility for the production of ready-mix concrete within Wensleydale and there are no other material considerations indicating a refusal in the public interest…”