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Bore Hill Farm plans submitted to planners

(March 04, 2010)

VFW has been in receipt of this statement from Developers Malaby Biogas re their application for Bore Hill Farm Warminster. Pdf of the document mentioned can be sent to vfw readers on request to [email protected]

Further to previous correspondence, I am writing to let you know that we submitted our formal planning application Wiltshire Council last Thursday 25th February 2010. We are still awaiting notification of registration however I thought I should let you know as soon as possible. Once registration is complete the full application should be available on line via the Public Access link on Wiltshire Council web site. However in the meantime I have attached the information listed below which will help shed some light on our proposals:


·         Planning Application Covering letter – outlining the documentation submitted in the application

·         Landscape Master Plan – showing the layout of the proposed scheme

·         Press Release – a notification issued to local press

·         Unique Features – a document to explain the unique features of our proposals

·         Information Sheet 6 – outline information on our planned Farm Collaboration Scheme


I have previously sent you the other Information Sheets as background however if you would like me to resend them please let me know.


As you know we have engaged in a comprehensive and detailed consultation with a wide group of interested parties including neighbours, councillors, planning officials, local schools and training/event organisers. During the consultation process we discovered that much of our work involved educating people and providing them with detailed technical and more general sustainability information so they were sufficiently informed to form an opinion on the proposals. This consultation process led us to include the provision of a visitor centre in the scheme to provide a way of educating a wider audience. We confirmed this need by asking local schools about the merits of having such a unique educational resource on their doorstep. Their response confirmed that there was indeed a real interest and need and their input has helped us design the layout and location of visitor space to provide a well thought out educational benefit for the community.   


In comparing our initial draft proposals with the final scheme you will see that we have taken the concerns of neighbours on board. The following points illustrate some of modifications we have made:


1.       An additional access road to reduce traffic impact

2.       Increased landscape buffering to reduce the visual impact

3.       Voluntary submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment. to provide an objective evaluation of the proposals and assurance that the impact will be acceptable.


We feel our proposals are in keeping with the location of the site as buffer land between the built up urban edge of Warminster and the countryside to the south. The development will bring new employment opportunities and renewable energy to the town without detracting from the existing provisions. Additionally it makes best use of a redundant site. As a disused farm the site is deteriorating and becoming an eyesore. Our proposals allow a new lease of life to be provided while at the same time working within current policy. It also benefits from the strategic location next to the busy A36/A350 junction without contributing to the traffic volume through the town centre.


I hope you will see the benefits these proposals provide and the commitment we have to respecting the site and its surroundings. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to meet you and discuss the proposals in more details. We would be very grateful for your support in our endeavours and look forward to any feedback you may wish to provide.


With kind regards



Thomas Minter


Malaby Martin Ltd

Malaby Biogas Ltd

Bore Hill Farm
This document is designed to be read as a free standing summary as justification for the
development proposals Malaby Biogas is putting forward for Bore Hill Farm, Warminster, Wiltshire. In
recognition of the rural character and redundant use of Bore Hill Farm, the redevelopment of part of
the land and run down buildings fall into two distinct areas:
1. The redevelopment of the existing farmstead of redundant farm buildings, yards and access way
to create a new group of low impact commercial business units (Class B1 use) specifically
designed to attract new business employment opportunities to the Warminster area. There will
be approximately 1,300 sq m of office and light industrial space divided across 6 buildings. The
layout recognises the farmstead configuration of the existing structures and the agricultural
heritage of the site.
2. The installation of a small biogas generating plant in the disused field adjacent to the A36 road
which forms the south western boundary of the property. The biogas plant will process imported
farm slurry and food waste to produce biogas to generate renewable heat and electricity for
onsite and export use.
There will be a symbiotic relationship between the two areas as aim is for the biogas plant to provide
affordable renewable heat and power to the commercial units. The sites will also share access to
Deverill Road which forms the eastern boundary of the site and which, via a roundabout at the
southern end of the site provides excellent access to the main trunk road transportation network
throughout the south west region. Due to the interdependency of the two uses and in recognition that
the bulk of development lies with the biogas plant, the Bore Hill Farm proposals are being designed
and submitted as one waste development planning application. This has been done in agreement
with Wiltshire Council.
The information in this document has been collected and assessed by a range of specialist
consultants. Their names and areas of expertise are shown at the end of this document.
This document is intended to provide information identifying four features of the proposed
development at Bore Hill Farm which are considered unique and which drive its design and
implementation. While there is, inevitably, a great deal of cross over between the unique features,
they have been identified separately to ensure a clear understanding of the benefits that the
proposals offer.
Throughout the design development of the scheme certain central principles have been used to
ensure integrity, success and originality. They are:
· Development in sympathy with the surroundings
· Application of sustainable and environmentally beneficial methods
· Useable and efficient facilities
· Promotion of innovative technologies with consideration for their setting
· Creation of interest and employment
Each of the four unique features is addressed on the following pages.
1. Strategic Location
Bore Hill Farm is located on the southern edge of Warminster in the land between the A36T, the
urban border of the town and Deverill Road which is the southern access between the town centre
and the A36T Warminster By Pass. The junction of the A36T and Deverill Road is a roundabout
forming the southern boundary of the site which also acts as the connection with the main A350 road
to Poole, Dorset.
The A350 is the main road between the Poole and Bournemouth to the M4 at Chippenham. The
A36T is the main trunk road from the southern ports of Southampton and Portsmouth to Bristol. Ten
miles west of Bore Hill Farm is the junction of the A36T and the A303T which provides dual carriage
way access to the M3 motorway to the east and Exeter to the west. Via the interconnection of the
A36T, A350 and A303T direct access to Poole, Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Andover,
Swindon, Chippenham, Bristol, Exeter and the M3 and M4 motorways is within 90 minutes drive of
Bore Hill Farm. Both the A36T and A350 around Warminster are Strategic Lorry Routes designated
by Wiltshire Council to encourage HGVs to minimise their impact on the environment and local
The county town of Trowbridge is 10 miles north along the A350, Frome in Somerset is 8 miles to
the west and Bath and Salisbury are 16 and 20 miles west and east respectively along the A36T.
Given the above road network connection it is clear that the proposed development will be uniquely
placed to ensure that all vehicles using the site will have minimal impact on the traffic load of
Warminster. Economies of scale can be also be used to ensure that financial and carbon
transportation costs can be minimized as much as possible.
In addition to the benefits of road connections the site is also well placed to gain from good
connections to the electricity network. To export the electricity generated in the biogas plant to the
national electricity network a sufficiently robust grid connection is required within an economically
feasible distance. At Bore Hill Farm this can be achieved by establishing a short underground cable
route to a connection point on Ludlow Close. This has been approved by the local distribution
network operator and will be installed with no visible overhead cables. Establishing a low impact and
economically viable grid connection is often one of the major hurdles to the development of biogas
plants in the UK. Farm locations are often in isolated positions which require expensive and intrusive
over head connections across considerable distances of open farm land. Additionally the poor road
connections do not allow for the efficient use of network capacity in the event of a good grid
connection being available.
Bore Hill Farm benefits uniquely from its location with excellent road and grid connections which
ensure that the flows of input material and exported energy and fertiliser digestate combine as
efficiently as possible. The high proportion of transport related costs in the operation of any business
venture mean that existing network capacity needs to be utilised as efficiently as possible. This is
true for economic costs as well as the softer environmental costs relating to carbon consumption and
the emission of greenhouse gases.
2. Current Site Redundancy
Bore Hill Farm had been vacant and for sale for a long period of time during which it had failed to sell
privately and at auction. The standard of the buildings had been allowed to deteriorate to the point
that the farm house was not habitable and the farm buildings were in a very poor state of repair.
Local security concerns had meant that modern roller shutter doors and motion sensitive external
lighting had been installed to reduce the risk of further damage.
During 2009 the farm house was renovated to preserve its integrity and with the enclosure of the
garden it became a viable dwelling that has subsequently been let. Two of the existing buildings
have been temporarily modified to provide secure storage space and site welfare for use during the
current planning phase of redevelopment.
The current land uses are not sustainable in the long term because the facilities are rudimentary and
inadequate to support any viable modern farming business. The grass quality is poor and the
topography and available area do not allow for efficient land management practices. Topography
also severely restricts the usability of the land as it restricts the ability to provide safe access ways to
yards, buildings and the land. Thus day to day vehicular movement of agricultural equipment is
severely limited to the point that economic viability is not possible.
Perimeter fencing and hedgerows are in poor condition with extensive repair and replacement work
needed to ensure proper long term use of the land. As a result of neglect and dilapidation over
recent years the ecological merits of the site are poor with little ungrazed cover for ground species
and similar lack of facilities for aerial species either in trees or buildings.
External influences which contribute to the poor agricultural amenity of Bore Hill Farm include:
· Noise, air and light pollution associated with road traffic from the A36 and Deverill Road
· Litter in verges and fields from road side disposal
· Land locked nature of the site makes incorporation into larger farms unfeasible
· Existing land area is too small to make it economically viable as a farm.
Notwithstanding the redundant nature of the site it retains an important position on the southern
edge of Warminster acting as a transition between the urban development to the north and the rural
landscape to the south. Ensuring that this transitional character of the site is retained is crucial to the
successful redevelopment of Bore Hill Farm. By implementing the redevelopment proposals the site
can be brought back into economic use. Applying the central design principles mentioned in the
introduction will ensure that this economic use will be innovative and sustainable while also ensuring
that there is sufficient consideration paid to the location, surroundings and previous land use.
Ensuring that the agricultural heritage of the site is retained will be essential to this and it should be
noted that the types of structures used in the proposals have been specifically chosen to fit within
the farming character of the site. While having a biogas plant may not be a traditional farming use it
is recognised as a legitimate operation to be supported in farm diversification and the types of
elements used (silos, barn, containers and yard areas) are in common usage in normal farming
Thus it is considered that the successful implementation of the proposals will be in keeping with the
traditional use of the site and will ensure a successful future for Bore Hill Farm.
In order to implement the proposals it will be noted that a significant amount of land modelling and
reconstruction will take place and the extent to which this is proposed is necessary to ensure the
reduction of any impacts on the surroundings or the neighbouring residential developments. By
utilising the land with the least economic use will ensure that the rural character of Bore Hill Farm is
3. Geographical Farming Node
The biogas plant intends to take some of its feedstock inputs from farm in the form of cattle slurry.
Although the majority input volume will be food waste there is an identified difficulty in farmers
disposing of their cattle slurry on the farm in the winter months. This arises from the implementation
of the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) regulations which state that farmers are not allowed to
dispose of their slurries directly to the land during closed periods which are determined by soil type
and cropping regime. In order to comply with NVZ regulations farmers are obliged to increase their
slurry storage capacity, at their own expense, to accommodate production during the closed period.
As a solution Malaby Biogas intends to offer digestion capacity at Bore Hill Farm to assist local
farmers in complying with the NVZ regulations.
The biogas plant also intends to control the feedstock quality to ensure the fertiliser digestate
complies with the Publicly Acceptable Standard 110 (PAS110). This standard has been developed
specifically to provide quality assurance for the material output from anaerobic digestion and allows
it to be reclassified as a product for beneficial use in agriculture. As a fertiliser the digestate will be
able to assist farmers in increasing the fertility and structure of their soils at a lower cost than by
using conventional chemical fertilisers. This is especially beneficial to chalk land arable farmers
where fertility is low and the soil structure is thin. Due to the high proportion of non farm based
feedstock being used in the biogas plant there will be approximately 200% more fertiliser by weight
available for agricultural use compared to the farm slurries supplied as inputs.
By establishing a Farm Collaboration Scheme Malaby Biogas intends to offer the fertiliser at
preferential rates to those supplying input slurries. For those participating to receive fertiliser without
any input it will be provided at a very significant discount to chemical fertilisers.
As well as the unique feature of the Farm Collaboration Scheme, the biogas plant at Bore Hill Farm
is also uniquely placed at the cross roads of differing agricultural practices. Different soil types and
topography mean that Bore Hill Farm is located between livestock and arable farming which have
differing needs and problems. The mainly arable chalk uplands of Cranborne Chase, the West
Wiltshire Downs and Salisbury Plain have thin soils and open fields where crop production
predominates. The more fertile lowlands of the Wylye Valley, Blackmore Vale and Somerset levels
have wetter pasture land used for grazing and cattle production. Placed between these two forms of
agriculture allows Bore Hill Farm to act as a conduit to direct fertility to land most in need and reduce
nitrate pollution caused by the over spreading of slurries.
Finally it should be noted that by using the beneficial road network the transportation of slurries and
fertiliser can occur with the minimum of transport disruption which often occurs with farms using
small country lanes or driving through villages and towns.
4. Development Integration
At Bore Hill Farm there is the unique opportunity to site an energy production facility so close to a
centre of energy consumption. By integrating the movement of the energy between the two from the
point of design allows both sites to gain from the efficient use of the energy produced. While the cost
of integration is high in terms of installing transfer conduits, pumps, valves, manifolds and metering
equipment the resulting energy efficiency and reduction in utility costs will ensure that the
commercial development is attractive to new or relocating businesses with an interest in energy
security and positive environmental credentials. While the commercial development will be an
independent self supporting venture, the security benefits of locating close to the biogas plant are
Most biogas plants in operation across Europe are not well placed to maximise the use of the heat
generated as a byproduct of their exporting electricity. By ensuring a beneficial use of the heat at
Bore Hill Farm there is the opportunity to significantly increase the efficiency of the plant and its
environmental credentials. The capital cost of implementation is high however the opportunity to
apply some of the central principles means that it would make the Bore Hill Farm proposals unique.
The development proposals are intended to establish Bore Hill Farm as an exemplar development.
To this end the biogas plant (and its integration with the commercial site) will command significant
external interest and be used a reference in the establishment of other plants across the UK. Thus
the benefits of the site to the local community and the broader renewable energy and waste
management industry as an economic and educational resource will be considerable.
To this end the design of the site has incorporated a visitor centre to provide access and facilities to
support the educational activities that will arise. In order to safely integrate the visitor centre into the
operational activity of the biogas plant, a dedicated viewing gallery will be installed in the main
reception building. One of the neighbouring commercial units will act as the main visitor centre with
meeting spaces, educational resources and welfare accommodation. Additionally there will be
closed circuit viewing opportunities in the main building to supplement the access provided via the
viewing gallery.
As a whole, the innovative integration of the visitor centre in the design, construction and operational
phases of the development will provide Bore Hill Farm with a unique opportunity to present itself as
an exemplary educational resource as well as a leader in a growing sector of the renewable energy
industry. While costly to implement, allowing broad access to the biogas plant will enable the
development of educational events. The visitor centre will be able to host seminars, training courses
or corporate education days to promote the broader sustainability aims that drove the initial
redevelopment of the site. As a discreet business with wide community and industry attraction, the
visitor centre will be able to promote renewable energy as well as educate interested members of
the public and industry on the benefits of integrated sustainable development. Providing community
use of such a unique resource will be a key factor in delivering the educational benefits and this will
need to be closely managed with the economic development of such a resource.
Using its experience in sympathetically redeveloping redundant rural sites Malaby Biogas intends to
establish Bore Hill Farm as a beacon in combining renewable energy generation, waste
management and economic regeneration. By working within the limitations of the site and making
the most of the opportunities it offers, a successful project will bring renewed life to a run down site.
By identifying four unique features of the site proposals Bore Hill Farm can be established as an
exemplary destination to educate and promote sustainability. At the heart of the proposals is the
existing site and its position as a crossroads between town and country, redundancy and success
and between waste and resource.
Identifying and promoting the unique features will help ensure the long term viability of Bore Hill
Farm. The innovative integration of facilities will provide delivery of the unique features. Throughout
the design process Malaby Biogas has worked to enshrine its central principles using modern
technology to support a sympathetic scheme. By being true to the principles and recognising the
influence the development will have on others Malaby Biogas will be able to bring success to a well
supported scheme.
Consultant Team
Listed below are the members of the consultant team that contributed specialist information and
assessments used in this document.
Company Specialisation
Architectural Design & Integration
Planning Advice
Landscape Integration
Transport Assessment
Logistics, Agricultural Inputs & Outputs
Land Modelling
Ecology & Environmental Integration

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