Revised plans submitted for £120m Ingham greenhouse as construction differs from approved proposals
Questions are being asked after construction of a major Ingham greenhouse development deviated from the approved plans.
Permission is now being sought from West Suffolk Council for the amendments – many of which have already been built – but residents have raised concerns.
Construction of the £120 million world-first low carbon Ingham glasshouse is nearing completion.
It is one of two greenhouses in the area being built by Greencoat Capital, with the other outside Norwich.
Planning approval for the commercial glasshouse on land at Place Farm, off The Street, was granted in October 2018.
Construction is now almost complete, but applicant Low Carbon Farming 6 Ltd has submitted revised proposals ‘to reflect the final plans’.
A letter submitted to the council adds: “The application is intended to regularise elements of the approved development which have been constructed somewhat differently to the approved plans, namely the packhouse and energy centre buildings, and water silos.”
The alterations include:
- The glasshouse has reduced in size and height
- The packhouse building has been reduced in size and no longer contains the plant room. The roof is now pitched rather than flat and has reduced in height
- The energy centre/plant room is now a separate building rather than forming part of the previously permitted packhouse building
- The staff and visitor car parking area has been moved north-east
- The number of water silos has increased from five to nine due to the differing crop requirements. They are now located externally
Andy Allen, of developers Oasthouse Ventures, said: “There are changes to the approved scheme and there is currently a planning application with the local planning authority for consideration. We are working constructively with the authority to ensure the greenhouse, which is a world-first in terms of sustainability, is a fantastic success for the local and national economy ”
Martin Sanders, nearby resident, said: “We as a family are all for progression and support advances in eco-farming so had no objection to the initial plans as they were submitted – however it soon became apparent the planning that was granted has differed greatly to what has indeed been built.”
Among his concerns are the impact of internal and external lighting at the glasshouse on his home and garden and the impact on a thriving bat population.
He added: “It soon became obvious the land was being built up in height significantly across the south and thus massively increasing and exposing the height of the glass house to ourselves.”
Veronica Savage questioned the ‘increasing’ number of vehicles using a concrete track to access the site and parking along a section of footpath, adding: “I am concerned this track will become part of the access to the site permanently rather than the single planned access on the A143.”
When complete, the greenhouse will be bigger than the O2 arena, warmed using waste heat from the nearby Fornham Anglian Water recycling centre. It and is expected to provide 135 jobs.