Food producer can expand in Green Belt

HOW Planning has secured full planning consent for a major expansion of Meadow Foods' milk processing facility on Green Belt land in Chester.

The 11-acre site is home to a milk processing and butter production facility, and serves the Cheshire milk field, collecting from 300 local dairy farmers. Overall the plant handles 400m litres of milk each year.

The site is within the Chester Green Belt and Meadow Foods have tried twice before to win consent for major expansion of its production and distribution buildings.

Following advice from HOW Planning, the planning committee of Cheshire West & Chester Council voted unanimously to grant permission for the 62% net increase to the existing buildings within the site.

Gary Halman, partner at HOW Planning, said: "This is an important decision as it is the first major approval won in the Chester Green Belt for an existing commercial enterprise since the National Planning Policy Framework was introduced earlier this year. The NPPF encourages councils to adopt a more positive stance towards established businesses, even where their premises are located within areas of Green Belt and despite its severe restrictions.

"We presented a compelling case of very special circumstances sufficient to override Green Belt policy and the Members were keen to support the job creation, investment and the vital contribution that Meadow Foods makes to the local economy. It was an excellent outcome."

Simon Chantler, executive chairman of Meadow Foods, said "The planning permission will allow Meadow Foods to expand operations and diversify our business lines at the Chester site. It's good news for the local area as we will be creating a significant number of new jobs to support our expanded manufacturing base. We were especially pleased with the work done by HOW Planning who steered us through to a successful outcome and delivered a really excellent client service throughout."

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