Anglesey farm’s hopes of retaining milk vending machine hinges on committee decision

A decision has been delayed on allowing an Anglesey farm business to keep its popular milk vending machine after being flagged up for refusal by planning officers.

It had been proposed that Anglesey Council’s planning committee should refuse consent to keep the already constructed wooden hut and hardstanding area which houses the vending facility at Neuadd, Cemaes.

But at the behest of local councillors Aled Morris Jones and Richard Owain Jones – as well as 252 letters of support being sent to Anglesey Council – committee members instead decided on a “virtual” site visit to find out more about the site and surroundings before coming to a decision.

The applicants were also backed in their efforts by Llanbadrig Community Council, with the site standing just off the A5025 en-route to the Gadlys Hotel.

With such vending machines becoming popular with farms as a way of supplying fresh milk to paying customers at a push of a button in recyclable glass bottles, it follows the success of other similar ventures across Wales.

The proposals at Neuadd had been presented by Gareth Jones of the nearby family dairy farm at Nant Y Frân, Cemaes, with the site having been operational since July.

Despite the applicants not owning the application site, the application noted that an agreement was in place with the landowner of Neuadd Farm, while also creating one full-time job.

But the report compiled by authority planning officers recommended that members refuse the plans after citing policy contraventions.

These included claims that the proposal would result in “the unacceptable and unjustified development of an isolated A1 retail outlet in the open countryside,” said to be contrary to planning guidelines.

The applicants’ supporting documents, meanwhile, noted: “At present, five local Welsh speaking people work on the farm along with the applicant and his father, resulting in the farm supporting a total of seven households.

“As a result of uncertain times facing the agricultural sector including Covid-19, Brexit and diminishing farm subsidies, the family have decided to diversify the agricultural business and set up an additional outlet for their milk, by way of selling milk and local produce through a vending machine.

“This provides the opportunity for people to purchase local milk directly from the farmer himself which has been produced by cows grazing less than 700m from the site, reducing food-miles and increasing the sustainability of the product.”

It’s expected that a decision will be made when the county’s planning committee next meets in November.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey