Wrexham Greenhouses 2
The renewable energy-powered greenhouses would be used for growing fruit and vegetables

Doubt cast on Wrexham greenhouses

Dan Whelan

The council has described developer Low Carbon Farming’s request for a rapid approval of its plans to build two 18-acre greenhouses as “ambitious and unrealistic”, and the firm could now miss out on a Government subsidy for the scheme. 

The Brighton-based environmental developer had hoped its plans would benefit from the Government’s Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive initiative, which provides companies with a subsidy for every unit of renewable heat they generate. 

However, that initiative is being wound down and Low Carbon Farming would need approval for its Wrexham project by the end of September if it is to meet a deadline to apply for a subsidy before then. 

The chances of that happening are now much reduced as the application was not included on the agenda for Wrexham Council’s September planning committee meeting. 

Low Carbon Farming said in a statement: “The developer is focused on getting the project over the line in September, which of course means working constructively with officials to navigate any remaining obstacles.   

“The developer is confident this can be achieved and hopeful that it will prove possible for the planning committee to meet for a second time in September so a decision can be taken on this opportunity before it’s lost by default.” 

However, Wrexham Council has made no promises about holding a second committee this month, saying that it will not “circumvent the planning process”. 

“We have written to the applicant to outline our position, which was initially made clear in June,” the council said.  

“[The developer’s] application and expectations are extremely ambitious and, in many respects, unrealistic. The consultation process has raised issues and concerns that need further information and assessment. Until these are complete, officers are unable to make a recommendation.” 

“We cannot circumvent the planning process in any way and we are currently going through the correct planning procedures, which will be determined once this process is completed.” 

The proposed greenhouses would be used to grow fruit and vegetables, and would be heated using renewable energy from ground source heat pumps as opposed to natural gas boilers – the usual method of heating – to reduce carbon emissions.  

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It would be a great shame if this does not happen. It sounds to be just the sort of initiative that we require in this country if we are to reduce the amount of food that we import. Surely two World Wars when we almost ran out of food towards the end should have taught us something. It would be great for Wrexham to be in the vanguard of revolutionary farming and food production.

By Nigel Bruce

I don’t disagree Nigel, but it looks as though the Planning Department is being blamed here for LCF leaving it too late to submit the application.

By Jack Mary Ann