Twenty-five new jobs are set to be created after a Lowca plant nursery's expansion plans were given the go-ahead.

Blomfield's Limited had applied to Copeland Council for planning permission to erect 3.2 hectares of new glasshouses on land to the north of Woodland Nurseries at Stamford Hill, to add to the 4.5 hectares of glasshouses and other facilities it already has in place.

At a virtual meeting of the planning panel on Wednesday afternoon, seven councillors voted for the recommendation from council planners to approve the application with conditions.

Three voted against the development and there was one abstention.

Anthony Blomfield, who owns the business, said it would create at least 25 new jobs and pump an additional £1million into the local economy.

Blomfield's, which grows and sells bedding plants, employs 45 full-time staff during its peak period from March to October and 25 during quieter months.

“The reason for the expansion is to keep us as the primary supplier to our largest customer, Dobbies Garden Centres, who are wanting us to expand with them," he said.

“Without this additional capacity it is unlikely Blomfield’s would remain a primary supplier to Dobbies, therefore jeopardising the viability of the whole business.”

The development had attracted objections from Lowca parish council and local residents, with parish council clerk Michael Milner addressing the panel at the meeting.

Mr Milner questioned the safety of vehicles crossing a Sustrans-run cycle path which lies between the existing greenhouses and the proposed site.

The application would be a 71 per cent increase in footprint for the business and Mr Milner argued that it would be expanding onto valuable agricultural land, not an existing employment site.

Other concerns included the impact on landscape and settlement character and disruption to wildlife.

He said: “If this application proceeds, not only will the landscape character be lost for human beings, the potential presence in the area of other species will be bulldozered under the banner of commercial profit.”

Councillor Graham Minshaw asked if parish councillors and residents would feel better if a bridge or underpass was used to keep traffic off the cycle path but Mr Milner replied that that was “not really the answer”.

Mr Blomfield said the cycle path was leased to Sustrans for £1 each year and that the business had put concrete down between the access road and the cycle path to improve the surface.

Shereen Oliver, another objector, said the nearby access road was in a "right state" and that there had also been near misses in the village due to drivers from the site using excessive speed.

She urged councillors to visit the site to see her concerns for themselves.

Mr Blomfield said the road was an unadopted road owned by Copeland Council and that attempts to buy the road from the authority had been refused.

However, he added that the company was in the process of replacing its six-wheel, 18-tonne vehicles with more "road-friendly" ones.

He said no complaints had been made to him about his drivers' speed and told the panel that Blomfield's had agreed with Cumbria County Council to improve visibility.