One of the UK’s largest soft fruit growers plans to expand production in Herefordshire with new polytunnels and seasonal worker caravans.

Ledbury-based Haygrove has applied to install up to 6.5 hectares of new tunnels on fields at its Huntington site by the Welsh border, with 18 caravans to be placed between them.

The company already grows 18 hectares of cherries and blueberries under plastic at the farm, to which it transports about 150 workers daily by double-decker and minibuses during the picking season.

Housing six workers in each of the proposed caravans “is intended to significantly reduce/eliminate the need for daily long-distance bussing (70-mile round trip) of workers in season”, so reducing local traffic, the application says.


Haygrove is also a major international developer and supplier of polytunnels, which it says “are now indispensable to all commercial soft-fruit growers in the UK and in Herefordshire”, yet “sit lightly on the landscape”.

These “will remain in place continuously from year to year, although they may be uncovered periodically” at the farm. Proposed landscaping will reduce their visual impact while restoring and enhancing hedgerows and other habitat features, it says.

The proposal meanwhile “will result in no net loss of floodplain storage and will not increase the risk of flooding at the site or elsewhere”, it adds.

The company, which has annual global sales of over £100 million, has recently begun to measure its performance across a “triple bottom line” of “profit, people and planet” indicators.

The two applications, reference numbers 221321 (polytunnels) and 221322 (caravans), can be commented on until June 4.