The proposed site for the Frochas Farm IPU occupies a central, prominent hillside position in the landscape directly overlooking the nearby Glyndwr’s Way (a national footpath) and Llanerchydol Park, a popular amenity for local walkers and running clubs as well as parties of ramblers visiting the area, very often from overseas.
The proposed IPU’s scale, industrial appearance and sloping site are totally inappropriate to the character of this rural hillside farmland, traditionally used for sheep, cattle and arable farming.
Landscape, Visual Impact and Character
The proposed factory style complex will be set directly between, and very close to, two Grade 2 listed buildings. Llanerchydol Hall, a local Victorian heritage site (Grade II*) and Lower Llanerchydol cottage, a traditional Welsh farmhouse that is currently being fully and sensitively restored in a manner that respects its heritage. The proposed IPU shows no respect for nearby local heritage. The available plans are limited in detail but show three industrial style units spread across 2 acres and over 100 metres of open hillside.
The proposal environmental assessment (EA) states that the actual layout will be advised to Powys County Council (PCC) before building works commence. We trust PCC will insist on full layout detail in order to make a fully informed planning decision.
It is anticipated the site may be terraced to achieve a level setting for the three units, hence the reason for siting the complex over 100 metres from the farm service road. There is a concern that such a configuration would radically alter and harm the natural profile of the hillside and lead to a much larger concrete footprint with negative visual impact on the landscape. This layout would lead to broiler units and silos at increased heights above the existing ground. The proposal’s sectional drawings indicate an increase in existing ground level of at least 5 metres, making the south facing visual mitigation proposal an impossible prospect. Some of the feed silos will stand some 13.4m above the existing ground.
The scale of the development is such that its impact cannot be hidden in a very shallow natural valley at the base of the sloping site.
The development is unrelated to the much smaller traditional buildings within the existing farmstead cluster. It is an isolated, obtrusive, standalone structure in an open countryside landscape.
This development not only fails to comply with Policy DM4 of the Local Development Plan in terms of scale and negative impact on open views but it will also radically alter the character of the landscape:
The surrounding area is currently a settled agricultural landscape of scattered small farms, small hamlets/villages and a significant horticultural site and garden centre, Dingle Nurseries & Gardens.
The partially visible buildings on the crest of the hillside development site are a cluster of cattle sheds and traditional farm buildings.
Besides being isolated on its site, the large metal structures of the IPU will appear stark and severe making an immediate negative impact on the profile and appearance of the rural landscape. They would be a focal point in the middle of the wider hillside backdrop.
The IPU would detract from views mainly from the south, in particular from the national footpath, Glyndwr’s Way, amenity and nearby public rights of way. The proposed building site sits directly across two public footpaths.
Diversion permissions will be required.