PLANS to build a £50m pair of cutting-edge sustainable greenhouses and bring 150 new, long-term green jobs to Wrexham have suffered a "major set-back".

The project has been omitted from the published agenda for next week’s Wrexham Council Planning Committee, despite the developer having stressed the importance of planning permission being granted by October 1.

The deadline has been set as Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) tariffs are being scaled back 20 per cent on October 1, meaning failure to get planning permission before that date will see the plans withdrawn.

The greenhouses, scheduled for construction in the spring, would capture both waste heat and carbon emissions from Dwr Cymru’s Five Fords Waste-Water Treatment Works and use them to grow up to 40 per cent of the tomatoes consumed in Wales.

The project would be the most technically advanced of its kind in Europe.

Low Carbon Farming, the developer behind the project to be built on agricultural land located directly between the Dwr Cymru facility and SecAnim Abattoir, has warned consistently that it’s a ‘time-limited’ opportunity for Wrexham. Planning permission must be achieved in September for the project to qualify for the necessary support funding from the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

Following news this week that Tyson Foods is to close its Wrexham meat processing factory, Low Carbon Farming is already working with Unite Wales and Lantra, the training organisation, to advance plans to re-train and employ the 71 workers in a modern and low carbon agri-business.

Andy Allen, a director at Low Carbon Farming, said: “Having experienced such warmth and enthusiasm from the local community and a wide range of political representatives, we’re bitterly disappointed not to make the agenda for September’s planning committee.

“Our team has worked tirelessly since April to address all stakeholder feedback. The few remaining items for discussion could be covered as conditions of planning consent. Instead, I’m afraid the council’s planners have been uncommunicative and seemingly oblivious to the simple fact that this opportunity for green recovery infrastructure and employment in Wrexham will no longer be there next month.

“On the basis that we cannot be included on the agenda next week, we have requested that the planning committee meets for a second time in mid-September in order to take a decision on our project. This is a perfectly reasonable request, not least since the Committee will not be conducting site visits on the 18th as scheduled, on account of coronavirus restrictions."

Wrexham Council describes the plans as "extremely ambitious" and "in many respects unrealistic", which have raised "concerns which need further information and assessment" - until such time "officers are unable to make a recommendation".

“I’m a firm believer that all development proposals, our own included, must be scrutinised and shaped by local stakeholders. But I also know that Wrexham residents expect more ambition and proactivity from their council when presented with a golden opportunity to address local unemployment, air pollution and inward investment.”

Sarah Gould, project manager at environmental training company Lantra, said: “Clearly it is exceptionally rare to have an opportunity to re-train and transition an entire workforce into a single, sustainable development just a stone’s throw away.

"But we’re confident that the fundamental agri-food skill-set at the Tyson Foods factory can be shaped to meet the needs of the greenhouses.

"From an employment perspective, this proposal is an ideal fit for the region and aligns closely to the Wales Food and Drink Action Plan. We need all parties to remain agile and proactive so this opportunity is not lost."

A Wrexham Council spokesperson said: "We have written to the applicant to outline our position which was initially made clear to them in June.

"Their application and expectations are extremely ambitious and in many respects unrealistic. The consultation process has raised issues and concerns which need further information and assessment. Until these are complete officers are unable to make a recommendation.

“We cannot circumvent the planning process in any way and we are currently going through the correct planning procedures which will be determined once this process is completed.”

Further project information can be viewed at