An Ocado-backed vertical farming pioneer wants to convert a former camshaft factory to grow food in Lydney. Jones Food Company Ltd wants permission to change the use of the former JD Norman Foundry to provide an indoor hydroponic farming facility off the A48.
Hydroponics is a method for growing plants without soil, in water and with the addition of nutrients. It is usually crops that are grown and can comprise of herbs, salad and berries.
Online supermarket giant Ocado made a multi-million pound investment into the Scunthorpe vertical farming start-up in 2019. And now they are expected to create up to 30 jobs and the plans will be debated by Forest of Dean District Council next week.
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Their proposals include roof alterations and roof-mounted solar panels and will involve installing an external heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, water tanks, a CO2 ingestion system.
They also want to change the exterior of the building and extend and increase the roof height. The main area for the extension will be to the rear of the building, which will create a ‘wrap around’ extension to the existing elements at the side of the building.
There will also be a small extension to the front of the building. They say the reason for the increase in height to the building is to maximise growing space internally.
The increase in height will be three metres and solar panels will be mounted to the roof. They want to use the existing access from the A48 and they expect to create 30 jobs once operational.
Councillor Alan Preest (C, Lydney East) said: “It’s great. It’ll put a brownfield site back into use and has the potential to bring 30 new jobs in the vicinity and will help feed our population. It’s something different for Lydney.
“I was very disappointed the Aldi plans were turned down some 16 months ago but I’m all for this development. It ticks all the boxes. Transport links are there, it’s on the bypass so it won’t impact on the town in terms of traffic and yes, I’m very supportive of it.”
Planning officers have recommended approving the plans subject to conditions and councillors will debate the scheme on March 8.
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