PLANNING officials are backing the multi-million pound redevelopment of the Wensleydale Creamery.

Officers at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have recommended that the proposal to build a new cheese production plant, visitor centre, smoke house and offices at the dairy's existing site in Hawes is approved.

The building will feature a curved green roof to reflect the surrounding hills.

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A large glacial rock, known as an erratic, will be positioned above the front door as a reference to the natural landscape and geology of the Dales.

Officers have suggested that materials should be traditional in character including local natural stone and timber, although the architect has proposed that the new dairy is made of composite metal panels and reconstituted stone.

Planners will ask members to give them final approval on materials before granting planning permission.

The plans will be discussed at a planning meeting next Tuesday (December 11).

The redevelopment would see all cheese production moved to the Gayle Lane site, Hawes, with the company's second dairy in Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, handling blending, order packing and dispatching.

The new buildings will include a whey processing plant, to allow the company to take advantage of a new and potentially lucrative market.

Improved viewing facilities for visitors will also be created.

If members back the proposal and the company decides to push ahead with the redevelopment, enabling work would potentially start next year with the main build taking place the following year.