On Tuesday the 1st of August Cheshire West & Chester Planning Committee met in Chester to decide on the latest planning application submitted by FP McCann.

This application was to extend the hours of working from a six am start till ten pm finish time.

John Beecroft the chairman of Byley Parish presented the committee with hard factual evidence from  CWAC’s own  records of a previous planning approval  that clearly stated the hours that the plant was permitted to work 6am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and no working Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays. These hours were agreed in 2005 and which have not been superseded and were adhered to by the previous owners Buchan’s concrete solutions without any problems and they achieved full production. McCann are stating they need double the production hours to achieve 6.7% extra output, amazing!

Strangely this evidence of the previously approved hours was not presented in the planning report by CWAC’s Chief Planning Officer, Steve Lewis, who inexplicably totally ignored this previous key planning approval.

Local resident Sue Moran was allocated three minutes to convey the residents’ concerns, which included the facts that F.P. McCann has completely ignored the Planning Committees previous decision in February 2017 over working hours. Hard video evidence had previously been presented on various transgressions including construction work taking place at 2 am and 3 am and the destruction of over 100 mature trees together with the overbearing visual impact of this now massive factory. There have already been 3 HSE improvement notices issued to the company on this site since McCann started.

CWAC Shakerley ward Councillor Mark Stocks presented his case for objecting to this application.

He told the Committee there were several breaches of the planning regulations and numerous complaints had been lodged with CWAC, he demanded to know why no action had been taken by the relevant officers, and why they were not covered in the official report to the CWAC Planning Committee.

Discussions went on over the proposed alterations to the dangerous Kings Lane road junction that the applicant needs to be modified to lawfully use the new production building. The local residents who live there state the proposed alterations would actually make the road more dangerous. This is all despite the fact that it was recently proved to, and acknowledged by CWAC Councils legal department, that part of the scheme would require land not in the ownership of CWAC this was inexplicably disputed by two of the officers present.

What was apparent was that despite the facts that numerous documented complaints by both residents, the parish council and the Ward Councillor that these were to be ignored.

It was highlighted by one member of the CWAC Committee who did voice support for the residents that this Company had no respect for the planning conditions imposed and were not “good neighbours”

That the planning officers seem to be ignoring the regulations is all very disturbing to say the least.

The Committee went on to vote on this and 5 councillors voted not to support it out of concern for the residents but unfortunately 6 voted for approval of the new hours.

We wonder how long before McCann ignore these working hours and another round of complaints are lodged and indeed the company lodge a new plan to spoil or rural Cheshire.