Sunday, 17 December 2017

Parish Council - update from Ben Wills

Beeswax Dyson Farming

There was an update from Ben Wills of Beeswax Dyson Farming about current and proposed developments on their Nocton Estate at the Parish Council meeting on 12 Dec 2017.

I have supplemented this report with more information from the internet:

Nocton Wood House - new admin centre

The mezzanine and office fit out was completed by Acorn Partitions & Storage Systems Ltd: "This involved a conversion of the large estate building into modern commercial offices.  The works included interior design by the in-house design team, installation of a mezzanine floor and staircase, glass partitions to create offices and meeting rooms, decoration works and supply of all office furniture."

The Beeswax team moved into their newly refurbished premises on Monday 11 December.

Nocton Wood House
photo by James Thompson [Instagram]
Nocton Wood House
photo by Geoff Hall [15 Dec 2017]

Nocton Woods - Farm Complex

The new complex is pretty much complete as envisaged in the planning application 16/0654/FUL. With the access to the new facilities this year, it has resulted in an 'easy' harvest.

There is another planning application 17/1703/FUL under consideration, for a new potato store building. This will be located alongside the Amenity Block on the new farm complex and will be set back on the site to minimise its impact on the horizon from Wasp's Nest. In any case, the ridge height of the building will be much lower than the Grain Store. Furthermore, the protective 'bund', when fully planted out, will also help merge everything into the landscape.

The plans are to grow potatoes on circa 150 hectares of land, producing somewhere in the region of 7,500 tonnes. The potato plant has a high water requirement and a shallow rooting system, making it vulnerable to drought. However, as reported in my blog dated 02 Jun 2017 about my visit to the Nocton estate, the irrigation factors are well catered for.

Amenity Block and Grain Store
photo by Geoff Hall [15 Dec 2017]
Newly-constructed bund
photo by Geoff Hall [15 Dec 2017]

Bund from public footpath
photo by Geoff Hall [15 Dec 2017]
Bund from Wasp's Nest estate road
photo by Geoff Hall [15 Dec 2017]

Nocton Estate - access

The new access road to the farm complex has been very successful at removing heavy farm machinery away from those areas with public access. However, there have been occasional issues with pedestrians, cyclists and motorists using this new access as a public highway - when in fact it is a private road only to be used for farm business.

Beeswax Dyson Farming don't really want to install barriers on each junction so are considering other measures e.g. signage. The new road will be named 'Cyclone Way', chosen by Sir James Dyson after an internal competition for suitable suggestions.

The Old Sleaford Road access at Top Lodge is now going to have stone walls and pillars reinstated to deter any heavy plant and machinery turning down this road. The plan is to try and reproduce what the entrance was like from old photographs, even down to replacing the Dragons holding the Ripon Coat of Arms on the top of the pillars if these can be located.

The Marquess of Ripon's Coat of Arms incorporates a shield depicting three 'stags at bay' and an inverted V, with a central smaller shield embossed with a Royal Coat of Arms of three rampant lions, a harp and two roses.
[Source: 'Nocton: The Last Years of an Estate Village - Vol 1 by Sheila Redshaw and Sue Morris]

Top Lodge gateway - off Sleaford Old Rd

Dragons holding the Ripon Coat of Arms

Wasp's Nest - Old Fen Workshop

There is a planning application 17/0347/FUL relating to the conversion of this old workshop into a building for functions, meetings and staff training. It is hoped this work will commence soon.

Use of new technology

The use of imaging technology is being used to great effect, highlighting those areas of crop that require more fertilisation or irrigation. The spraying machinery can target specific areas, rather than treating the whole area, saving on wastage and unnecessary costs.

'Beeswax Dyson Farming is high on technology with widespread use of drones and self-drive tractors and machinery. Small agricultural robots, now being tested, are forecast to replace large tractors with major savings in costs.'


Developments in corporate culture are to be found too

'Beeswax Dyson Farming, Britain’s largest farming company, invests considerably more of its profits back into the environment than EU law requires. From anaerobic digesters that turn waste food into electricity to drones which save bird nests from combine harvesters, Beeswax Dyson is fully committed to a policy of environmental and wildlife protection.

In its owner’s own words, ‘We do far, far more than we need to’.'


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