Support and objections to Leyburn ready mix concrete plans

The entrance to Metcalfe Farms' site near Leyburn.

Plans for a ready mix concrete batching plant at a farm on the outskirts of Leyburn have been supported by community leaders but prompted concerns from residents and two nearby building materials firms.

Tarmac and Cemex UK, which supplies aggregate products from their Redmire and Leyburn sites have raised “strong objections” to the proposal from the nearby Metcalfe Farms’ Washfold Farm to further diversify.

Documents to be considered by Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee state the 2,000-acre farm on Moor Road has a pedigree herd of 900 Holstein cows and a similar number of sheep and has previously launched agricultural and haulage contracting with a fleet of 90 HGVs based there.

Other operations include workshops for cars and a commercial and automotive repair business and MOTs, along with a fabrication plant, which together provide 190 jobs for local residents.

A Metcalfe Farms spokesman said the concrete would serve developments within Leyburn and small scale projects in the Yorkshire Dales, as well as for its own planned expansion within the Washfold Farm complex.

He said: “It is considered that the proposed ready mix concrete facility occupying less than 0.1ha of land is an appropriate development within the established Washfold Farm complex consistent with rural business expansion and agricultural diversification objectives of Richmondshire District Council and the National Planning Policy Framework.”

Leyburn Town Council has backed the plan, saying while Metcalfe Farms brought “much inward capital and income” to the community, the concrete-making machinery would broaden the economic base of the business and will also increase employment opportunities.

However, the plan has attracted opposition from some residents, who claim the development would create pollution, have an unacceptable impact on local roads, diversify the site away from agricultural use and set a precedent for its industrial use.

A spokesman for Cemex UK said the proposal would introduce “an alien industrial use to a farm that should otherwise be located at a permitted quarry location or an industrial estate”.

A Tarmac spokeswoman said it was becoming increasingly concerned with developments at the farm.