Helping company to bloom

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An innovative plan by a local nursery company could bring jobs, housing and an environmental boost to the area.

Chessum Plants has put forward plans for a housing development at its Woodlands Nursery site off Biggleswade Road.

It has also sold part of the massive plot to an innovative company which specialises in organic composting.

Plans are already before Central Bedfordshire Council for the new homes, and a public exhibition to build an organic waste to compost site on the site, is being held at Jordans Mill tomorrow.

Chessum Plants wants to demolish agricultural buildings nd housing already on the site and build 60 homes, including 35% affordable homes and 30% subsidised for local workers.

In its planning statement, the company said it already had 30 staff members struggling to find accommodation in the area.

It said it planned for 11 subsidised rental properties for local workers with a remaining 28 market housing deliverable within the next five years.

The Bedfordshire-based company produced around two million roses in 2015.

Its Home and Garden retail group already has 12 outlets and is looking to grow to 22 by 2020.

Astoria Organic Matters UK plans to build a composting facility which will process up to 100,000 tonnes of organic waste every year. It will be made up of a combination of food and garden waste.

Camilla Dumbeck from Astoria said around 15-20 jobs could be created if the site gets the go ahead, with most of them coming from the local area.

The public meetings will help the company finalise its proposals before they go before planners but among the highlights are a new access road meaning traffic to the site will only be from the A1, bypassing Upper Caldecote.

The consultation is at Jordans Mill from 10-4pm.