Berkshire

Protesters against proposed polytunnels at Berkshire farm

Protesters say proposals to put polytunnels on Berkshire farmland will wreck the landscape.

The 3m-high plastic tunnels will cover 4.6 acres of Manor Farm, Finchampstead, if the application is successful.

Those opposed to the proposals claim it will be a factory and ruin farmland enjoyed by thousands each year.

EU Plants Ltd, which grows soft fruit plants, is behind the application. It says that polytunnels are "crucial" and will not harm the area.

Protester Sandra Bedford said: "We have thousands of people visit from outside the area for recreational purposes and they haven't got a clue what is about to appear right here. It's going to be a light industrial estate."

'Every hope'

Slavey Slavchev, owner of EU Plants Ltd, which also has a site in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, said: "It is only a small area of polytunnels, which is absolutely critical and crucial.

"We cannot have business without polytunnels. The area is only 6% (of the entire farm area), it's five acres of polytunnels that we have applied for at the moment and we have every hope it will be granted because without that business, it will be very difficult."

Mr Slavchev, who owns Manor Farm, said the polytunnels would enable 3m plants to be grown at the site each year and the visual impact of the tunnels would be very limited.

Manor Farm has traditionally been used for grazing and growing crops.

Wokingham council will consider the planning application. The public consultation ends on 29 January.

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