Green light for bid from Ocado-backed food company to build vertical farm in Gloucestershire


An Ocado-backed vertical farming pioneer has been given the green light to convert an old camshaft factory to grow food in Lydney. Jones Food Company Ltd this week received permission to alter the use of the former JD Norman Foundry to provide an indoor hydroponics facility off the A48.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, in water and with the addition of nutrients. These are usually crops that are grown and can include herbs, salad, and berries. Online supermarket giant Ocado invested several million pounds in vertical farming start-up Scunthorpe in 2019. And now they are expected to create up to 30 jobs in Lydney.

Their proposals include roof modifications and roof mounted solar panels and will involve the installation of an external heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, water tanks, a CO2 ingestion system. They also want to modify the exterior of the building and extend and increase the height of the roof. The main area of ​​the extension will be at the rear of the building, which will create a ‘wrap-around’ extension of the existing elements on the side of the building.

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There will also be a small extension to the front of the building. They say the reason for increasing the height of the building is to maximize the growing space inside. The height increase will be three meters and solar panels will be mounted on the roof. They want to use the existing access from the A48 and plan to create 30 jobs once operational.

At the planning committee meeting yesterday (8 March), Councilor Thom Forester (Independent Alliance, Mitcheldean, Ruardean & Drybrook) raised concerns about soil contamination and the volume of waste the operation will generate. However, planners recommended approving the project with conditions.

Cllr Maria Edwards (Independent, Tidenham) moved to endorse the program and this was seconded by Cllr Julia Gooch (The Progressive Independents, Newent & Taynton). The committee voted in favor of the proposals by 10 votes to one.

She said: “This will create up to 30 full-time jobs. It’s the redesign of a job site and I’m all for this application.”

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