Arla Foods to create 700 jobs with new £150M dairy project

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Buckinghamshire Arla foods

Arla have been given the green-light for new £150M plant
Arla have been given the green-light for new £150M plant
Some 700 new jobs are set to be created in the sector after communities secretary Eric Pickles confirmed that he would not call-in Danish dairy cooperative Arla Foods’ application to build a new £150M dairy in Buckinghamshire.

The firm has now been given the green light for the plans, which will feature the world’s largest zero carbon dairy and create a “food manufacturing hub​” on the site near Aston Clinton, Aylesbury.

The Aylesbury Vale District Council’s (AVDC's) strategic planning committee unanimously backed the plans on September 23, leaving the firm awaiting a final decision regarding a potential call in from Pickles.

Final decision

Following his approval, however, the council are now set to grant detailed planning permission for the dairy as well as outline permission for a supporting business park, which is set to be operational towards the end of 2012.

The firm said that it has “committed to 100% privately fund the project​”, which will include a dairy that can process and package up to 1.3bn litres of fresh milk a year.

Peter Lauritzen, chief executive of Arla Foods UK, said that the project would help the firm achieve its growth ambitions in the UK.

He told Food “The granting of planning permission means we can bring a state-of-the-art dairy to Aylesbury, creating 700 new jobs, a £20M annual wages bill and delivering a £150M private-sector led investment​.”

Arla’s aim is to be a good long-term neighbour and we have therefore incorporated a multi-million pound package of mitigation measures to effectively reduce or remove the effect of bringing the dairy to this site. We are also proposing to create a community liaison group so we can continue to work closely with local councillors and residents.​”

Multi-million pound package

The project had previously generated wide-spread local opposition, which lead to a delay in the planning application process.

In April, campaigner Simon Icke said the local ombudsman had received numerous complaints about the “crazy, ill thought out” application.

He told Food “Local government procedures may have been compromised during discussions between Arla representatives about changing this greenfield area into an industrial landscape. They never expected there was going to be such anger from local people​.”

A spokesman for the AVDC said that the planning permission is expected to be granted as soon as mitigation measures surrounding section 106 agreements are completed.

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Positive Headline - Don't count your chickens just yet - let's wait and see the reality first!

Posted by Can't believe it's being allowed to happen,

I am horrified that this is being allowed to happen. I feel there is clearly a hidden agenda for this development. It's location on its own makes absolutely NO sense at all. Hemel Hempsted or Milton Keynes maybe, where there is direct access to the motorway but not on a road that is miles from a decent transport link, and the one dual carriageway it is linked to shuts with practically a single snowflake with no proper alternative route.

As for the creation of 700 jobs, well let's wait and see. The company is allegedly making people redundant all over the country in order to set up this factory, so I'm not sure that jobs will actually be created … more like relocated leaving some other poor souls without work. Let's count how many local people have jobs in a year or two.

As far as I am concerned, the whole process has been a pack of lies so far, with front page stories and PR being very different from reality – maybe the reporter I spoke to who was against it before Arla execs paid him a visit at home to fully explain things (his words not mine) had an insight us Aston Clinton residents have not been fortunate enough to have had. I never received anything that Arla claimed every householder had received. Meetings have been done with very little notice or kept very quiet. Even the final documents sent to Eric Pickles for consideration were only half the story – not mentioning the 1000s of letters of strong opposition.

The whole thing stinks, and not in a good way. I hope whoever benefits from this feels the nightmare it is bound to cause is worth it in the end.

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We await the thousands of HGVs with dread

Posted by Aston Clinton resident,

Needless to say the vast majority of the people of ancient rural villages of Aston Clinton & Buckland will be very upset with the government's decision not to call in the application: The people we trusted to represent our interest, with the exception of Cllr. Carole Paternoster who opposed the plans to turn 140 acres of green farmland into a massive industrial site; next to one of the most scenic stretches of the Grand Union canal, with fantastic views of the Chiltern Hills.

Our elected representatives; including the Local MP David Lidington have let us down badly.

Local democracy is a sham. As for the government's empty promises of openness and transparency and localism involving local people in local decisions; from our experience it is nothing more than a very bad joke. Over 3,000 objection letters to Aylesbury Vale Council to the four Arla applications have been ignored.

This location is so far from a motorway junction in all directions, the location will be totally relying on one dual carriage way as its main access route to and from the site, the A41 by-pass and when this is closed due to an accident or during the winter weather, there are no realistic alternative for access to the M25; which is over 20 miles away from the proposed site, so it will be a nightmare traffic scenario just waiting to happen for Aylesbury and the nearby Hertfordshire towns of Tring, Berkhamsted and Kings Langley. For these reasons neighbouring West Herts, Dacorum District Council objected to the plans, as did Tring Town Council.

How blind our elected representatives must be not to see this future traffic chaos and gridlock on our local roads; thousands of HGVs will be coming our way; in the not too distant future.

The location of this massive Arla Foods distribution business at Aston Clinton is completely the wrong place for so many reasons and it makes a mockery of Arla's slogan: 'Closer to Nature,' when in this case they will be destroying 140 acres of farmland!

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