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Introduction & Brief History

In December 2001 further enormous areas of land were being prepared at Kings Caple by Neil Cockburn of Pennoxstone Court in preparation for erecting more polytunnels. This is within the designated lower Wye Valley Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an area of great landscape value.
Individuals, the parish council and our MP had previously written to the council expressing their concern at this serious destruction of landscape within the AONB.
At that time we believed the council were powerless to stop this.

Discussion document, submitted to the council 30th January 2002 (appears here in revised form):

The detrimental effects on the landscape of polythene sheet and tunnel farming in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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photo: pre-polythene days at Kings Caple alongside river Wye



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photo: now Kings Caple alongside river Wye is more akin to an industrial estate

Now a veiw more akin to an industrial estate rather tha Herefords most protected landscape, heart of the AONB

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photo: Ross-on-Wye, the Spires of St Mary now dominated by fields of plastic
1 miles to the south lies Goodrich Castle and to the rear Chase Wood. This development is against the whole ethos of the AONB.
Polytunnels erected at by Mr Drummond at The Homme, Walford, alongside the River Wye, opposite Pencraig, approx 150acre site clearly visible from the A40 Ross-Monmouth.

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These photographs Illustrate the growers process of first covering land with polythene then raising hoops then plastic tunnel. This is neither a “Temporary Structure” nor a temporary business; this is a permanent and expanding feature in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, all year, year upon year.

Planning policy; Prominent views to and from hillsides and across open countryside or towns are protected from the intrusion of large-scale development. The setting of historic and attractive man-made features such as cathedrals, churches and notable buildings should therefore be protected”

All without planning consent!

5b. ”The use of tunnels is helping to support the local economy:-
No doubt that the working of raising tunnel employs more hands on but the vast numbers of fruit pickers/workers are drawn from Eastern Europe. Pennoxstone made the TV news imploring the government to extend the visas of their pickers so as not to loose the crop. As late as 1990 local pickers had been employed and paid well which was an obvious way of supporting the local economy.(Should we not encourage farmers who TRULY support the local economy.)