Maelor Foods poultry plant bids to boost capacity to one million birds a week

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

As many as one million birds could be processed per week at a poultry processing plant.

Maelor Foods in Pickhill Lane, Cross Lanes, currently has permission to process no more than 400,000 birds per week at its factory.

But an application has been lodged with Wrexham Council to remove the condition limiting the capacity at which it is able to operate.

The site, formerly the Maelor Creamery, was bought by owners Salisbury Poultry in 2015 and consent was granted to turn the entire site into a poultry processing facility.

Senior figures at Salisbury Poultry say the firm has experienced a significant increase in business in the last two years, largely due to an increasing bias from the public towards buying British.

Turnover has increased by more than 50 per cent and the firm says demand continues to outstrip supply, hence the need to increase the number of birds at the site.

The facility, built in Cross Lanes on the site of the former First Milk factory which closed down in 2014, was opened officialy by Lesley Griffiths AM, Ken Skates AM, and mayor of Wrexham, Cllr John Pritchard, in November.

The plant has created more than 70 jobs and recruitment is ongoing for new roles including senior management, skilled jobs in engineering, technical, butchery and administrative personnel and drivers along with production operatives.

The plant, which received a grant of more than £3 million from the Welsh Government, will eventually employ more than 150 people and is also supporting employment in the supply chain as it takes on local farmers as suppliers.

A planning statement submitted as part of the application states: “In summary, the facility at Maelor has been designed and fitted out with a view to processing in the region of one million birds per week.

“The original expectation was that this would be a future-proofing exercise, however the requirement to run the facility at this number has become a necessity for the business now.

“The crux of this application is that a condition was attached to an original change of permission and subsequent applications limiting the operational capacity of the suite with a view that a higher number of HGV movements to/from the site may result in the occupiers of the dwellings close to the site on Pickhill Lane experiencing higher levels of noise than if the previous use were to resume, to the detriment of their amenity.

“It is submitted that the envisaged potential increase in the numbers of HGV movements is unfounded and the true position is that the limited number of additional movements will not be to a level to cause detrimental impact on the amenities of local residents.”

A transport report commissioned by Vectos on behalf of Maelor Foods concludes: “The potential impact associated with the removal of condition would be an increase of eight heavy goods vehicle movements per hour when compared with the permitted operation.

“This equates to an average of one extra vehicle every 7-8 minutes which would be coordinated within the inter-peak period to maximise operational efficiency but also minimise potential conflict on the surrounding network.

“The additional heavy goods vehicle movements will be subject to an existing management strategy that includes a dedicated booking system, coordination of deliveries outside of peak times, and close working with local suppliers to better plan journeys and reduce total trip distance travelled on the network.

“Overall, it is considered that the Maelor Foods site could accommodate the increase in heavy goods vehicle movements associated with the removal of the planning condition.

“No additional infrastructure is required within the site and the additional movements can be actively managed by the site to minimise the potential impact on the surrounding highway network.

“As such, it is considered that the removal of condition would assist with future operation of the site to enable it to continue to contribute to the local economy.”

A decision whether to remove the condition limiting the site to 400,000 birds per week will be taken at a date yet to be confirmed.

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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