Kettle Produce wants council backing for caravans for seasonal workers
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Kettle Produce, owners of Balmalcolm Farm in Cupar, have submitted a retrospective planning application to put five second-hand caravans on a portion of ground to house the workers - a move the business says is necessary to ensure food security.
Kettle Produce is a market leader for the provision of fresh and prepared vegetables, and the company employs more than 1,100 permanent staff across two sites in the region. Balmalcolm Farm is home to a 11,500 square meter factory where a range of vegetables including brassicas, roots, and salads are processed, packed, prepared and washed.
“The applicant requires labour to be present on site to ensure vegetable crops can be planted, harvested, graded and packed to achieve their customers’ orders and maintain food security within the UK,” a planning statement said
“As a consequence, there is a clear locational requirement for the [caravans] to support the growth and diversification of this well-established agricultural business, which acts as both a significant employer within the local area and a key part of the agricultural business network of the wider Fife area.”
The caravans, along with a smoking hut and welfare unit, have already been moved onto the farm site. The food manufacturer previously believed it was a permitted development. However, Fife Council denied the application a certificate of lawfulness and insisted that the proposals go through the full planning process.
Kettle Produce said the location is well removed from any existing residential properties in the surrounding area and highlighted that the site is small-scale and mobile.
“This means that should there no longer be a requirement for seasonal worker accommodation on site then the site can be returned to its previous agricultural use, avoiding any long-term adverse impact on this agricultural land,” a planning statement said.
According to planning papers, it is anticipated that the caravans are likely to be occupied on a year-round basis based on the demands of the business.
The council will consider the application in due course.