A PLANNING inspector has allowed an appeal by a poultry processing plant to increase the number of birds it processes to one million a week at its factory near Wrexham.

Hywel Wyn Jones has overturned the decision by Wrexham Council to refuse permission to amend a planning condition to enable Maelor Foods to process up to one million birds per week at its factory in Cross Lanes.

His decision published on May 13 follows a planning appeal held in March. The inspector said it was made in accordance with the Well Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act’s sustainable development principle through the objectives of "supporting safe, cohesive and resilient communities; improving prosperity; and fostering conditions for sustainable economic development and employment."

The expansion, which will come into effect once conditions including improvements to the highway network are met, and the company says this will lead to a minimum of 80 new jobs and an estimated £101m boost to the local economy.

The state-of-the-art poultry processing plant, which is shortlisted as a finalist for Processor of the Year at the 2019 National Egg and Poultry Awards, opened in 2017 on the former First Milk site following an investment of more than £20m. It was backed with a £3.15m grant from the Welsh Government’s Food Business Investment Scheme.

Managing Director Raj Mehta said: “We are very pleased to be able to draw a line under this protracted planning process. Having open communication between our neighbours, the community and local councillors is a priority and we will be looking to establish a formal and regular dialogue with them moving forward.

“We are grateful to the inspector for the time he spent understanding our intentions and the conditions we are prepared to operate to to mitigate any impact on the local community.”

Maelor Foods in Cross Lanes resubmitted the application despite it being rejected twice by Wrexham Council's planning committee in October and February, because of the impact on road safety and nearby residents.