A FRUIT growers near Ledbury says it needs to build new accommodation for its seasonal workers as they want a better standard of living.

Priors Grove Farm in Putley asked Herefordshire Council if it could build more accommodation for its seasonal workers b replacing an agricultural building.

Applying for planning permission, director Rachel Hubbard said there was a "definite move for seasonal workers wishing to have alternatives to the traditional static caravan or mobile home accommodation" when coming to work on UK farms.

"These units become incredibly hot in the summer and conversely very cold and risk of pipes freezing etc in the winter, this is impacting where workers choose to work in the UK with those that can offer alternatives without these issues being the preferred," she said in a covering letter.

A design and access statement said there was a bungalow and two static caravans for the seasonal workers.

"The permission gained for the static caravans is temporary and a more long-term solution is sort," it said.

"It is also evident that the workers require more substantial accommodation offering better living quarters as evidenced by the accompanying letter from Fruitful Jobs.

"A Dutch barn adjoins the bungalow accommodation and is considered a suitable location to share existing facilities.

"The conversion of the barn was considered, but the condition and open nature of the building did not lend to itself to be converted without extensive rebuilding.

"Therefore, it is proposed to replace the barn with a structure of similar scale."

The 100-acre farm with organic orchards grows and sells cherries, pears, plums and apples, with up to 15 workers required for each fruit season.

"The proposed extension will replace and utilise the existing footprint of the steel framed building," the statement said.

"It is to be clad with horizontal timber weatherboarding and comprise a pitched roof with a covering of interlocking tiles to match the adjoining bungalow.

"It is felt its appearance is in keeping with the existing farm buildings and the rural locality.

"No windows are proposed on the rear (North West) elevation to ensure that the neighbouring property, The Lacons, is not overlooked."

Plans showed the new building would have five bedrooms and a bathroom, with a new opening into the existing bungalow to access a kitchen and living room.

Comments on application 211012 can be made until July 20, with a decision expected on August 11.