THE owners of a country estate have unveiled plans to build a water extraction and bottling plant the size of a supermarket in a rural landscape.

Tanfield Lodge Developments has applied to Hambleton District Council to build a “utilitarian character” factory with 1,904sq m of floorspace – similar to the size of some Lidl and Aldi stores – partly on woods and grazing land at High Haw Leas Farm, near Masham.

The firm says the Lower Wensleydale facility would enable the extraction of spring water from an identified nearby source, which would be piped to the building, where it would be treated, filtered, packaged and labelled ready for shipment to a wholesale warehouse distributor.

Documents submitted with the application state the water plant would generate 12 full-time jobs on the Tanfield Lodge Estate, home of the Bourne-Arton family for six generations. The firm said the estate was “ever-evolving” and had always operated with a commercial edge, “fully understanding and appreciating the available natural resources within it”. The papers state: “It is fully aware of the need to use such assets to ensure the longevity of the estate and thriving local community as a viable entity.”

The proposed building would cover a 56m by 34m area to accommodate up to two linear production lines at the site, which also features boarding kennels and an equestrian centre. Ahead of submitting the proposal, the firm said it had been advised by council planners that the principle of having such a large building in the rural location, close to the River Ure, was acceptable, subject to “adequate justification” being provided.

The firm said it had also been advised it could introduce measures to make the impact on the landscape, ecology, residential amenity and road safety acceptable.

A Tanfield Lodge Developments spokesman said the plans had been developed to modify and enhance existing landscape features and the building would be set into the gradient of a hill. He added: “It is sought to retain many of the existing trees which form the woodland belt to the north of the site. Those trees that are felled are compensated for through the planting of additional trees on the site’s western edge and along the roadside as individual hedgerow specimens.”