EC Drummond vows to fight High Court withdrawal of polytunnels permission

Soft fruit grower EC Drummond has told Grower it plans to "fight on" after a local campaign group won a High Court challenge against its planning permission to put up polytunnels in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

As reported in last week's Grower, the business, which is based in Gloucestershire, was granted planning permission in 2008 to put up 50ha of the tunnels at its Home Green farm site in the Wye Valley.

However, a local action group won a High Court challenge against the local authority's decision. The judge ruled that Herefordshire Council had made an "error of law" by failing to carry out the environmental impact assessment process required by European law prior to granting permission.

But EC Drummond partner Eric Drummond said the council, along with the support of the NFU, is now looking to challenge the judge's decision in the Court of Appeal. "We have just got to fight on," he insisted.

"It's rather nonsensical that on the one hand we have Hilary Benn highlighting the success of the strawberry industry in his launch of the Government's food plan, while on the other hand we are not getting any help here from central Government."

Drummond added: "When we were first granted planning permission we had unanimous approval from the local council and locally we have huge support."

 

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