Mushroom farm expansion approved despite villagers' opposition
PUBLISHED: 15:32 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:28 19 September 2019
A major increase to the size of a mushroom farm in a Norfolk village has been given the go-ahead despite concerns it will increase traffic.
Tas Valley Mushrooms wants expand production by building seven additional plastic covered growing tunnels at its site at Flordon, near Long Stratton.
The company began as a small mushroom farm established in 1968. It now produces 30 tonnes of mushrooms every week that are handpicked before being transported to the Waveney Mushrooms packing operation at Swainsthorpe for distribution to wholesalers and supermarkets.
A planning application seeking permission add seven 45-metre long, 13-metre-wide and 5.7-metre-tall buildings at its site to the west of the village was approved by South Norfolk Council's development management committee on September 18.
The plans had attracted a number of objections from local residents over fears it would increase traffic in the small village, including heavy good vehicles, as well as increased noise from cooling fans.
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Flordon Parish Council, which has called for the proposals to be refused, stated in its submission: "The impacts and potential impacts of this type of operation in a rural setting are significant; and they have increased and will continue to increase in direct proportion to the rate of expansion.
"The new proposal will add in excess of 40,000sq ft of factory space, effectively doubling production. It is obvious that this will increase impacts and risks."
In their report to the committee, planning officers acknowledged concerns about traffic accessing the farm through the village rather than an agreed routing from Mulbarton but added that the proposals are not considered to "endanger highway safety".
They stated: "The concerns of the local residents are fully understood. The Highways Authority have set out that a formal routing agreement would be desirable for this site, however acknowledge that these are difficult in practise to enforce and would only relate to vehicles within the control of the applicant.
"Conditions are also already in place on the site which means that although vehicles may access the site at any time, unloading must happen within prescribed times."
Officers recommend that conditions be placed on planning approval to limit noise including restrictions on operating hours on the site.