Part of Fauvic Nurseries in Grouville will become a cannabis farm after a planning application was unanimously approved by a committee of politicians yesterday.
Existing modern glasshouses on the site, to the east of the Holme Grown shop and café, will be upgraded and extended, and another one demolished to be replaced by a new building which will be used for drying leaves and staff facilities.
An energy centre – making use of low-carbon air- and ground-source heat pumps – will also be built, and a 2.2m-high green wire-mesh fence will surround the facility, screened by hedging and set back from the site perimeter.
The farm – which will only grow cannabis before the crop is exported for processing – will be run by a company called Grovida, which is based in the Algarve but has established a local subsidiary.
Speaking at the Planning Committee meeting, Ed Moorhouse of Oasthouse Ventures, which has invested in Grovida, said that the company had been liaising with the Government for the past 26 months, which had included applying for a licence to cultivate.
He said Grovida was making a long-term commitment to the island, and it had specifically selected the site, not only because of the quality of the existing facilities but also its distance from neighbouring properties.
Pictured: The cannabis farm will be based to the east of Holme Grown.
He explained that the glasshouses would have computer-controlled blackout blinds and a sophisticated ‘misting’ system which would soak up odours.
He added that whatever water was applied to the crop would be captured and reused. The company would also take ownership of a nearby reed bed which had been created to hold and clean up surface water.
Speaking in support of the application, Dan Houseago – who is Group Director in the Department for the Economy – said that growing cannabis in hemp and medicinal form was regarded as an important part of the rural economy, especially as it made use of existing infrastructure and was a high-value crop.
It had already attracted investment of £50m without any contribution from taxpayers, he said.
Backing the scheme, committee chairman, Constable Philip Le Sueur praised the “comprehensive plan” of the applicant. He added that he had some concerns about odour and light pollution, but he was “reasonably comfortable” and able to support the plans.
Constable Deidre Mezbourian and Deputy Andy Howell both referred to complaints about cannabis odour from St. Lawrence parishioners – referring to another farm - but added that they were satisfied with the mitigation put in place for Fauvic Nurseries.
The first licence for the commercial cultivation of medicinal cannabis was issued in January 2021, putting the island at the forefront of the emerging European medicinal cannabis market.
Since then, five licences have been issued by the Government.
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