A controversial plan to cover an area of Herefordshire greater than 13 football pitches in new polytunnels will be decided on next week.

S&A Soft Fruits of Marden, between Hereford and Leominster, applied for planning permission last summer to expand protected strawberry production by 9.5 hectares at its Drakeley Farm, including a new 650-square-metre portal-framed farm building, two ponds and six water storage tanks.

Marden parish council has “strongly” objected to the plan, submitting a list of 30 points of concern.


It says the parish “has already been changed totally” by the lorries and other traffic, noise, light pollution and “general degradation” of the environment brought by the fruit farm.

“This application is a step to (sic) far,” it said. A further 22 individual letters of objection have been lodged.


But Welsh Water and Natural England have made no objection to the proposal, nor have the council’s landscape, ecology, environmental health, highways and drainage officers.

Planning officer Rebecca Jenman is recommending that Herefordshire Council’s planning committee approve the proposal when it meets next Wednesday (January 17).

The company withdrew an earlier, even larger 13.5-hectare polytunnel plan for the farm last April, which had drawn nearly 100 objections.