Arla, which revealed the proposed location of its £150m dairy in September after securing the land, has yet to submit a formal planning application for the dairy it plans to build on it, a spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
"We have an agreement in place with the land owner, which was why we put out a statement in September, but we have yet to submit the full planning application. We're working very closely with the local council and residents and we're inviting people to comment on the application on December 8 and 9."
The full application would be submitted formally some time during the winter, she said. However, Arla remained confident that the dairy would be operational at some point in 2012.
Susan Kitchen from the planning department at Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: "Arla is carrying out pre-application community engagement, which we would encourage for a project of this scale. We also need a statement of community involvement."
When the location was unveiled in September, Arla said that Aylesbury had emerged as the front‐runner out of several possible locations as it offered the "best overall logistics solution to service Arla’s customers, when considering both raw milk collection from farm and finished product to the retailers. It also provides the best access to a densely populated area".
Project management for the new dairy, which is being billed as the most "environmentally advanced in the world" is being handled by Jakob Wielandt Nielsen (pictured), who will be responsible for finalising the design of the dairy, appointing contractors and overseeing its construction and installation.
While the dairy would shake up the market, most analysts predict it will not add significant net capacity to the UK liquid milk processing sector as Arla is widely expected to close plants in Ashby, Hatfield Peverel and Oakthorpe as it comes on-stream.
“The headline 1bn-litre figure is not necessarily as bad as it seems," Shore Capital analyst Clive Black told FoodManufacture.co.uk in May. "We believe that Arla will close three plants into the new one.”