A PASTRY products manufacturer which was founded in Oswestry is continuing its expansion after lodging plans to build more than 700 square metres of solar panels outside its premises.

Coopers Gourmet Foods Ltd director Ivan Watkiss has applied to place three rows of photovoltaic cells, capable of generating 23 kilowatts altogether, at its base in Roden.

The company, which began in Oswestry in 2010, now employs 24 staff and makes a variety of products including sausage rolls, pies and quiches, at the Poynton Lane site.

Ercall Magna Parish Council’s Planning Committee will discuss the proposal when it meets virtually on Thursday, June 4. Its comments will be submitted to Telford and Wrekin Council, who will make a decision at a later date.

A statement, prepared on Mr Watkiss’s behalf by planning agent Michael Tomley of Bowen Son and Watson, says the company outgrew its Oswestry premises within a year of being founded. It moved to Shrewsbury, then to its current base in Roden in 2015.

“The business now distributes gourmet food products across the UK,” Mr Tomley writes.

“With expansion comes higher operating costs, not least in regard to electricity consumption.

“In 2018-19 Coopers’ electric supply costs amounted to around £50,000.

“Along with this high cost is the equally high carbon footprint, so research into alternative electric supply solutions was undertaken.”

He adds that the company’s base includes a large field to the west.

“The land has an open southerly aspect considered suitable to accommodate a ground-mounted array of photovoltaic panels,” Mr Tomley writes.

The plans show three 75-metre rows of panels, tilted at 32 degrees to face south. They will be supported by steel legs and coated in anti-reflective material “to absorb light, prevent light reflection [and] ensure the panels do not glint during sunlight hours”, Mr Tomley writes.