Plans to set up 18 caravans in rural Herefordshire housing over 100 fruit pickers at the season’s peak have been refused permission.

Haygrove of Ledbury, one of Britain’s largest soft fruit growers, had made a part-retrospective bid to allow the year-round caravans along with a facilities trailer, sewage treatment plant, new internal access track and landscaping measures at its Mahollam Road, Huntington site near the Welsh border.

It explained that currently, pickers must be brought by bus from Ledbury each day, which is “hard on the workers”, adding an hour and a half to their working day.


It previously had a planning application rejected to expand polytunnel production at the site and also put in the same number of worker caravans.

Huntington parish council “strenuously” objected to the latest application, which “would more than double the population of the parish for five months of the year, putting excessive pressure on the mains water system”.

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They also put forward concerns over impact on local traffic, services, landscape, and over the plan to use the locally treated human waste on fields.

The parish council said Haygrove had already installed ten caravans at the site along with the sewerage treatment plant and facilities trailer, which planning officer Adam Lewis confirmed.


“This arrogant stance by a large commercial business has not gone unnoticed by the community,” the parish council added.

Thirty individual letters of objection were also submitted.

Mr Lewis concluded that the proposal would harm “a high quality and valued rural landscape” which includes an ancient monument, Turret Castle, and the increase in waste water from the caravans could harm local watercourses, while introducing “an unacceptable risk of foul water flooding”.

The application for full planning permission was refused. Haygrove can appeal the decision, but otherwise is likely to have to remove the caravans and other elements.