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Arla Foods: Super-dairy will create 680 skilled jobs

4 commentsBy Elaine Watson , 07-Jan-2011

Arla Foods’ proposed £150m 1bn litre 'super-dairy' in Aylesbury will create 680 skilled jobs, while the development of commercial space next door could create 500 more, bosses have claimed.

An artist's impression of the superdairy

An artist's impression of the superdairy

In a series of documents outlining its plans for a mega dairy in Aston Clinton, Arla says: “This would be one of the biggest employment investments in the area for many years, creating approximately 680 skilled jobs.

“In addition, several hundred construction jobs will be created and the additional commercial space, if developed, could foster a further 500 jobs.”

Arla, which has declined to comment on analysts’ predictions that the net increase in jobs would be minimal given that it is likely to close older plants as the new dairy came on-stream, said a formal planning application would be submitted shortly.

The 18-month construction project was set to begin in mid-2011 with production due to begin at the end of 2012 (assuming no major problems with the planning application).

It also claims that the site will contribute “in excess of £17m a year into the local economy” and prove a catalyst for further investment in the region.

A detailed planning application will be submitted shortly for the milk processing facility, ancillary offices, treatment and energy centre together with the landscaping proposal, while an ‘outline application’ will also be submitted for an adjacent commercial development.

Mixed public reaction

Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk after local residents concerned about its plans contacted this publication, a spokeswoman said: “In terms of residents' responses to our proposals at the public meetings [held in Aston Clinton, Buckland Village and Weston Turville on December 8 and 9], as you would expect we received mixed reactions.

“Some concerns were raised however there was also lots of very positive feedback, including from the local MP [Conservative David Lidington] who is very supportive of our proposal.”

FoodManufacture.co.uk has not yet had a response from Lidington, but entries on his blog suggest his initial reaction to the proposed dairy was favourable.

He says: “My own first reaction to Arla’s plans is to welcome a development that will bring jobs to the Aylesbury area. Our local economy has far too few big private sector employers and the largest, Lloyds/HBOS, is cutting jobs sharply.”

However, it was also vital to address locals’ concerns, he said. “I hope that Arla’s decision to take the initiative in publicising its plans will mean that the debate can take place on the basis of a shared understanding by of the facts.”

Environmental impact

However, other residents remain concerned about the environmental impact of the site and argue that many local people were not aware that public meetings were taking place until after the event and dispute claims that leaflets outlining the plans had been as widely distributed as Arla claimed.

One resident said: “What about the inadequate road links, the proximity to RAF Halton, and the distance from motorway networks in all directions meaning up to 500 HGVs a day will have to find their way to and from the site on country lanes, A and B roads and through congested local towns like Aylesbury?”

But Arla rejected these concerns, claiming that the dairy, which is on the outskirts of Aylesbury, would “ensure minimum disruption to the urban areas of Aylesbury” and that large vehicles would not be using country lanes.

The firm, which also plans to plant scores of new trees and hedgerows in the site, also claimed that it would have “minimal impact on the air quality of the surrounding area”. While it would be “visible”to the locals, it would nevertheless “form a small component of a wide, expansive view” of the Chiltern Hills, added bosses.

Natural lighting, natural ventilation and utility efficiencies would also be used to deliver a zero-carbon facility and a zero waste to landfill target, they added.

4 comments (Comments are now closed)

Even a ten year old with a road map could see this is the wrong location for a massive distribution business

Re: Proposed Arla Foods massive Industrial development (70 Acres) on Greenfield sites of the beautiful Aylesbury Vale next to the Aylesbury Arm canal, near to the villages of Aston Clinton & Buckland; Buckinghamshire just off the dangerous A41 bypass; with its numerous serious accident rate statistics; especially on the unsuitable very short exit slip roads. (Check the serious RTA statistics with Herts & Thames Valley Traffic Police on the A41 bypass since it opened, including many fatalities).

...further thoughts on the traffic problems... not only does it seem Senior Officers, District & County planners & councillors know nothing of the existing major traffic problems in Aylesbury Town centre but it also seems they have buried their heads in the sand on the major traffic problems this Arla Foods massive industrial development with absolute certainty will cause not just to Aylesbury town centre and it already inadequate road systems, but also to the potential problems these additional 500 HGVs a day, (plus at least double this number of cars caused by 700 employees arriving and leaving the site at 3 times a day 3 x 8 hour shift patterns operation 24/7, 365 days a year) will have on local roads and villages. It is obvious those with local knowledge will avoid the traffic jams by seeking alternative routes through, Bedgrove, Stoke Mandeville, Weston Turville, Aston Clinton (old A41) . Halton, Wendover & Tring....plus Dunstable, Ivinghoe, Wing, Leighton Buzzard for those coming off the M1 or driving towards the M1; which would be at least 14 miles from the proposed site and it is almost impossible not to use country lanes and B roads ( unless they made a significant detour via Hemel Hempstead )...now a ten year old could work that out with a local road map, given the additional numbers of vehicles; so how come our highly paid Local Government Officers District & County planners, County and District councillors cannot see the same obvious major traffic problems?

Is it because they can't or they have a vested interest not to mention these problems; then when they happen they can just throw their arms up in despair and say 'sorry we didn't think this would happen'...durrh! pull the other one!...they know exactly what will happen if this massive distribution business goes ahead with 500 HGVs going and coming towards Aylesbury Town centre from and to all directions. It is at least 12 miles to the M40 from the site and traffic will have to go through Aylesbury town if they are coming off the M40 at the Bicester or Thame junctions or trying to join the M40 in the other direction.

The fact they have all been so secretive so far shows just how much they have to hide and is also a measure of the contempt they hold the views of local people by not consulting them in the first place. It smacks of total arrogance yet again; just like we saw with the incinerator proposals on the same site three years ago. It seems the authorities they have learned nothing! This is the 'Secret Society' not 'The Big Society' David Cameron spoke of.

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Posted by Simon Icke
09 January 2011 | 16h03

Aylesbury's transport links cannot take the strain of this mega factory

In the current financial climate it is easy to get carried away by the prospect of new jobs and opportunities. But we have to think carefully about what the perceived benefits of the proposed Arla Dairy will bring and temper that against the undoubted demerits.

All sorts of claims have been put forward as to the number of jobs including a figure of 1,200, which is quite unrealistic. Ignoring the construction (which will probably use many of the construction firms' own existing staff) just how many permanent jobs for local people will be generated? This will doubtless be a highly automated enterprise which will require far less than 1,200 or so. Stripping out any personnel moved from Arla's other sites or migrant workers from Eastern Europe, which legislation makes us powerless to prevent (and whose families will add stress to the already stretched services such as doctors and schools), the actual number of permanent jobs for local people may be quite small.

Consider also the strains on existing transport links. There seems to be a popular misconception, shared by the Mayor of Tring, that all supplies and deliveries from the new site will by via the A41 and M25. That will not happen. Lorries destined to/from the M1 North will doubtless come off at Dunstable or Milton Keynes and continue through villages such as Marsworth and Ivinghoe. Lorries to/from the M40 will leave at Bicester or Thame and have to come round or through Aylesbury. Similarly, stuff coming from Slough direction will be going through Beaconsfield and then Wendover, which is already extremely busy.

Arla is reckoning on a 1,000+ lorry movements per day, which is one every two and half minutes round the clock. Just think of the number of lorries which will not be going to or from the M25. Also, the A41 to and from Aylesbury in peak hours is stretched to near breaking point now. Anyone from Aylesbury working at the new factory is going to have a tough time going to and coming from work. Until such time as Aylesbury is fully by-passed (for which I cannot see a satisfactory route), we cannot put any more strain on the existing transport links. This is the wrong situation for the factory. It should be built alongside a motorway.

The proposed dairy will destroy the village of Buckland and seriously damage Aston Clinton. What's more, this development on greenfield land will leave the way open for further development all the way along the A41. Attractive as the prospect of employment may be, this development should be directed to already brownfield sites which can sustain the strains on transport.

Finally, it must be emphasised that this is not a farm. On BBC South Today the extract from an Arla promotional video was of cows – with even a cow kissing a calf. This is deliberately and emotionally misleading. There will not be animals – just an immense processing plant which will be huge environmental blot on the landscape.

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Posted by David Patterson
08 January 2011 | 01h01

Super Dairy... More like Super Eyesore!

As a resident of Aston Clinton, I strongly object to the proposed "Super Dairy". The word Dairy implies cows grazing in the fields then all making their way to the barn to give their milk. This will be a processing factory with not a cow in sight! We live in an area of beauty, and the "plans to plant scores of trees and hedgerows in the site" will not mask this proposed blot on the landscape.

The local transport network here will not cope with the added pressures that will be put on it once the projected 500 or so lorries a day make their way to and from the factory. How will lorries coming down the M1 access the plant if as Arla say in one of their statements " the larger lorries will not be using country lanes"?

I suspect that secret discussions on the building of this processing plant having been going on for several years, with a few select AVDC members. I find it incredible that the plans have reached such an advanced stage without any formal public consultation. Prior information about the public meetings, not did not reach me or any of my neighbours. I presume that ARLA hoped that if they did not inform anyone, no-one would turn up to complain, then their plans would go through smoothly.

This "Arla Saga" is turning into the script for a new John Grisham Novel with Big Business bulldozing their way into the lives of the little people!

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Posted by Julie Phillips
07 January 2011 | 18h51

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