Arla reviews master plan for super dairy

By Graham Holter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Buckinghamshire

An artist's impression of the super dairy
An artist's impression of the super dairy
Arla Foods says it is 'reviewing its master plan' for a controversial super dairy in Buckinghamshire following objections from local residents, but insists the facility is still on track to open in 2012.

The proposed 1bn-litre facility in Aston Clinton, near Aylesbury, would create 680 jobs, the company says. However, locals argue the transport network in the area will not be able to cope.

A planning application was expected before Christmas but has still not been received by Aylesbury Vale District Council, despite discussions with the authority about the £150m proposal and public consultation.

Clear idea of impact

But this week an Arla spokeswoman confirmed the company was still aiming to start production at Aston Clinton in 2012. She added: “We’ve not confirmed when the planning application will be going in. Following residents' concerns we’re reviewing our master plan.”

She would not comment on whether the revised plan would be a scaled-down version of the original proposal for the 70-acre site.

Local Conservative MP David Lidlington has met with Arla in recent weeks. He said: “The company is making further changes to its proposals in response to local comment and intends to submit a formal planning application to Aylesbury Vale District Council in a few weeks’ time.

“I’ve told them that when they have settled on their final plan and submitted it, I will want to visit the site to get a clear idea of what the visual and noise impact the new development would have on the local area.”

'Ill thought out' application

The application has generated widespread local opposition, with Tory council cabinet member Carole Paternoster among the objectors.

She said: “I’m opposed to it because of the transport implications. We don’t have the infrastructure to cope with that size of operation.

“But everything is on hold while we’re waiting for the planning application. We don’t know what it will have in it yet so people can’t finalise their objections. We were expecting the application in December but don’t expect to see it now until after the May elections.”

Campaigner Nigel Hayward is standing as an independent in the election on an anti-Arla ticket. Simon Icke, another objector, told FoodManufacture.co.uk that the local government ombudsman had already received complaints about the “crazy, ill thought out” ​application. Y

Icke said there was the possibility that “local government procedures may have been compromised during discussions between Arla representatives about changing this green field area into an industrial landscape”.

Icke added: “They never expected there was going to be such hostility and anger from local people. This is going to create 1,000 HGV movements a day and yet the site is nowhere near the motorway network.”

Related topics: Dairy, People & Skills

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5 comments

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Arla Food Dairy Aston Clinton

Posted by G.SMITH,

It is nearly impossible to get to Aylesbury on the A41 or London Road/Tring Road now without having another 100's of lorries both ways. It's just not practical. If it ever it gets passed the amount of traffic would be ridiculous. And you can imagine what chaos it would cause building the dairy. This must not happen. Aston Clinton is a quiet village and want to keep it this way

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ARLA will not "create UK jobs"

Posted by M Green,

Mr Deverew is incorrect in his assumptions that it will create UK jobs. Arla is "very likely" to close its less efficient plants in Ashby, Hatfield Peverel and Oakthorpe as it comes on-stream. This new plant is about creating much greater efficiencies and reducing costs. That means net job cuts in the UK and more profit to ARLA at the expense of our irreplaceable greenbelt!

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Extract from open letter to Arla Aston Clinton Project Director

Posted by Simon Icke,

COPY OF LETTER SENT TO TIM EVANS DIRECTOR ARLA FOODS UK.

OPEN REPLY TO MR TIM EVANS

Mr Tim Evans
Arla Foods UK
Director of Projects
Aston Clinton Mega Dairy Development

Dear Mr Evans,

Thank you for including me in your 'Dear All' email copied to me and my neighbour and David Lidington MP .

I appreciate you putting the record straight on the speculation that one of the reasons you wanted to be close to the A41 bypass was its link with the M25 and easy access to Dover and Folkestone and therefore the continent via France & Belgium. Despite your reassurances that you will not be using this convenient link with the M25 for the import of 'cheap milk' from the contenent for processing, I still feel your relatively easy link with the continent is one of the main reasons you have chosen this site. As yet we do not know your reasons for that? We can only guess.

Your proposed mega dair covers an area of 70 acres on green field sites next to the most scenic canals in the South of England, in the an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Aylesbury Vale and very close to the Chiltern Hills, near to the historic villages of Aston Clinton and Buckland, in beautiful Buckinghamshire. It makes a nonsense of your slogan 'closer to nature', when you are prepared to destroy nature for an massive industrial site!

Sorry for reminding you yet again that your company plan to develop an enormous industrial park and factory on the green fields of the Vale and Buckinghamshire, however, until such time as your company realise this is an act of unnecessary 'vandalism' of the beautiful English countryside, then I have no wish to meet with you or your colleagues to discuss what we already know of your proposals to destroy this area of natural beauty.

A location that is most unsuitable for so many reasons not least the fact your distribution business will depend on very high volumes of HGVs travelling through the already congested town of Aylesbury and also IMO clog up the bypass with its unsuitable and dangerous short slip roads/exits which I believe will create major traffic congestion problems( if not serious accidents) meaning local traffic trying to use the bypass will look for alternative routes on local roads to reach their place of work. Therefore many towns and villages covering a wide area of the Aylesbury vale will be adversely affected by significant increases in traffic.

I believe that a ten-year-old with a local road map would conclude that this is simply the wrong location for a distribution business. Being a resident of Aston Clinton the last twenty two years, I know just how difficult it is to get on the motorway network; especially if I want to travel north, as my options are very difficult and limited and therefore the options of your HGVs and other suppliers will be the same.

To head towards Thame or Bicester for the M40 both taking a minimum time of 30 minutes on a good day but with the usual congestion in Aylesbury it can sometimes take nearly an hour just to reach the motorway junction! And in the other northerly direction heading for the M1 via Dunstable (another congested town) Junction 11 on the M1 just past the Luton & Dunstable Hospital is a distance of 14 miles from Aston Clinton, with an expected journey time again of at least 30 minutes but sometimes much longer.

Having many family members living in the north I know from experience on numerous occasions in the past just how frustrating it is to travel to and from the Aston Clinton from either the M1 or the M40. So why on earth anyone in their right mind would want to choose Aston Clinton for a distribution business? IMO they need their head seeing too!

[...]

Sorry Mr Evans I am sure you will understand why I have no wish to meet with you or your advisers at the moment. I think I will wait until I know your detailed plans when they are submitted to AVDC; perhaps we can meet during the consultation period; perhaps when more Aylesbury Vale residents realise exactly what is coming, they will ask for a public enquiry, as to how this green field site could be put forward for a massive industrial development, such as your company Arla Foods proposes.

[...]

Best Regards

Simon Icke
Aston Clinton Resident
Buckinghamshire UK

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