A plan to cover up to 32 hectares of Herefordshire’s border country with polytunnels for fruit growing has been kicked out by a government-appointed inspector.

The proposal for Biddlestone Farm, Llangarron by Mark Green of nearby Ditton Farm, St Owen’s Cross, drew over 600 objections when it was first put forward in September 2017.

The bid consisted of seven separate planning applications, covering the polytunnels themselves, a new driveway onto the A4137, three “balancing ponds” for water runoff, mobile homes and other facilities for seasonal workers, a farm building, pump house and loading dock.


Herefordshire Council refused iton the grounds that it had not shown there would be no harm to the “visual amenity and landscape character” of the area, nor harm to biodiversity.

Nor had it been shown that the proposed water management and drainage would not harm the River Wye special area of conservation (SAC) or increase the risk of flooding locally, nor that the road access would be safe, the council’s planning officer ruled at the time.

In an appeal covering all seven of the original applications, the farm then said landscaping mitigation measures it proposed would not only address the visual amenity but also bring biodiversity improvements, and also sought to address the council’s objections on flooding, drainage and road safety.


But following a public hearing last November, the planning inspector appointed to rule on the appeal D J Board has now dismissed this.

“Overall I do not consider that the scheme would integrate this significant amount of polytunnel development into the landscape,” the inspector concluded.

On the ecology issue, they were unconvinced that the proposed water management and foul drainage systems would not have an adverse impact on the protected river Wye.

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They also considered that a submitted survey of protected great crested newts on the site was out of date and therefore invalid.

Though finding no harm would arise from surface water flooding or highway safety, these points did not outweigh the scheme's impacts on landscape and ecology, the inspector concluded.

The ruling effectively ends any likelihood of the proposal being put into practice.