Grower downscales operations to appease local community

Plans by soft fruit grower S&A Produce to drastically downsize its operations to appease local residents have been approved by Herefordshire Council.

The decision follows an extensive process of consultation with the neighbouring community and council officers after a series of objections were made by Arrow Valley Residents Association to S&A's original plan - submitted to the local authority last year - to build 67ha of fixed polytunnels and accommodation for up to 1,000 seasonal staff.

The revised plan has reduced the coverage of polytunnels being erected on its Brierley site from 67ha to 35ha as the company switches to table top production.

However, as reported in Grower in August, redundancies will be made as a result of the adjustment with the number of seasonal workers likely to halve from 1,000 to just 500.

But S&A Produce has welcomed the council's decision. Managing director Frank Green said: "This is an extremely important decision for S&A Produce and we are very pleased with the outcome. We have worked hard to consult with local people, listen to what they have to say and develop sensitive proposals that have taken their views into account. We are pleased that these efforts have been recognised.

"The decision will go a long way towards providing S&A with a sustainable future, where we can invest in the business, make environmental improvements and reduce local impacts and continue providing jobs for local people safe in the knowledge that we have the long-term permission that we need."


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