Community leaders in a designated National Landscape area renowned for its tranquility have welcomed an agreement between a controversy-hit animal feeds firm and a council’s planning department to restrict the hours its HGVs can operate.

After withdrawing its appeal against enforcement action by North Yorkshire Council, family-run business Ian Mosey said settling its lawful operating hours would end uncertainty for communities around commercial transport movements to and from the Howardian Hills-based feed mill.

The agreement does not impact on the livestock and arable arm of the business, but appears to signal progress in a long-running row between the firm and residents of villages, such as Oswaldkirk, which the firm’s lorries regularly pass through to distribute 250,000 tons of animal feed annually.

Residents had claimed in its ambition to expand the firm had displayed “complete contempt” towards them with trucks rumbling past their homes in the early hours causing them to have “a severe lack of sleep”.

In response to a series of complaints North Yorkshire Council issued an enforcement notice earlier this year alleging the firm had breached of a planning condition designed to restrict the hours lorries used to transport raw and finished product associated with the feed mill could operate in.

Under the agreement, all commercial vehicles connected with the feed mill can only operate in the area from 5.30am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 5.30am to 6pm on Saturdays.

The firm said it had already adopted practical measures to ensure compliance, including installing barriers on the feed mill gates with cameras.

Since being established at the rural site in 1979, the firm has grown to become one of the UK’s leading animal feed manufacturers as well as one of the country’s largest independent pig producers, leading some residents to claim the company is no longer suited to a rural area.

A major contributor to the area’s economy, directly employing around 170 people, Ian Mosey also plays an important role in the UK’s food supply chain and provides income to more than 400 farms.

Its managing director, Ian Mosey, said the firm had always been committed to  “supporting our local community”. He said: “We believe this change gives us all clarity to move forwards with those commitments.

“We want to minimise disturbance to nearby villages, while ensuring we secure and create more local jobs. It’s encouraging to note we have received a lot of support from people who recognise our positive contribution to the surrounding rural economy.”

Mr Mosey’s daughter, Becky Milne, said the firm would continue to consider measures to help ensure compliance with the agreed operating hours.

She said: “We want to secure the future of our business and have a positive impact on our local community.”

Helmsley and Sinnington councillor George Jabbour said the deal had been reached after “everything possible” had been done to support the affected communities.

He said: “Whether it was arranging a protest, raising the issue with the media and with both the current North Yorkshire Council and its Ryedale predecessor, using the locality budget or writing to residents to encourage them to attend council meetings to voice their concerns, every avenue has been explored.

“Today is a positive step forward on this long journey.  It is now incumbent on all parties to constructively collaborate with each other for the sake of our local villages.”

Amotherby and Ampleforth councillor Steve Mason added: “We finally seem to be getting somewhere with this situation, and to be clear, no one is doubting the positive economic value that the company brings to North Yorkshire.

“But this whole situation began with the shift to earlier operating hours, primarily in the mornings. All the feedback I received is that the shift to 5.30am is impacting residents in villages.

“This is a win for the community, who can be more reassured that as 24/7 HGV movements are off the the table, and I welcome the compliance measures to be introduced by the company, but the fact remains that residents of the surrounding villages will still be impacted in unsociable hours.”