Family’s long-running association with Fens set to continue after modernisation plans approved

PUBLISHED: 10:42 10 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:42 10 December 2014




A family who have been farming the land around Littleport for more than 100 years have won planning permission to bring their facilities “into the 21st century”.

Fourth generation farmer, Mark Gilbert, of J Gilbert and Son, can trace his family’s farming history in Littleport back to the late 1800s.

The family currently farm about 1,300 acres of land, producing more than 13,000 tonnes of wheat, beans, beet and potatoes, with headquarters at Butchers Hill Farm, in Wisbech Road.

But, according to a planning application made to East Cambridgeshire District Council, the business was in urgent need of new storage and drying facilities for its crops, to help replace facilities that have been in use since the 1940s.

In an application to the council, Mr Gilbert said: “For the current production levels, combinable crop drying facilities have lagged behind the progress of the farming business for a number of years, and there is a crying need to bring the facilities back into the 21st Century and centralise these facilities.”

Mr Gilbert added that a lack of suitable facilities had created “a bottleneck to harvesting operations”.

Mr Gilbert applied for permission to build a new storage building, with enough capacity to house about 1,800 tonnes of crops – with scope to increase that amount in the future.

The plans secured the support of Littleport Parish Council and were approved this week by district council planning officer, Richard West.

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