Business is mushrooming in Beckley

A MUSHROOM processing factory in Beckley is looking to extend its hours and increase its workforce.

Orchidwood Mushrooms, at Hobbs Lane, wants to move into 24 hour production and has applied to planners at Rother Council.

They claim extra hours will maximise the use of new production equipment to increase sales volumes and enlarge the local workforce.

Orchidwood said there will be no additional lorry movements outside the agreed hours of 5.30am and 6pm.

The plans have met with objections from some local residents who claim it will create extra noise and pollution. There have been seven objections.

In other commercial locations businesses are able to expand without planning permission, but Orchidwood is a special case due to its rural location.

The company currently employs 18 people and say round the clock working hours would create seven to eight additional jobs.

Rother planning chief Tim Hickling said: “As this site is in a quiet rural area the expansion of business activity has to be balanced against the amenities of local residents.

“This is a successful business which has a need and the opportunity to expand production.”

Planning officers are supporting the application but for a trial period of two years to allow them to review the situation.

Mr Hickling said: “The proposal involves balancing the desire of the business to expand and the need to safeguard the amenities of residents in what is a quiet rural location.

“Granting a temporary permission is considered an appropriate way forward.”

Rother Council’s planning committee was due to make a decision when it met yesterday (Thursday).