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.
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 Manufacture.co.uk: “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 Manufacture.co.uk: “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.