THE council’s decision to reject plans for up to 30 homes could put the future of a Burscough business in jeopardy, according to its bosses.
West Lancashire council rejected an application by GBB Estates and Universal Bulk Handling International to demolish an industrial building and build a cul-de-sac on Orrell Lane.
The planning committee voted 13-11 in favour of rejecting the plans last Thursday, in line with council officers’ recommendations over fears that potential residents’ quality of life would be harmed by noise from the nearby commercial premises. But UBH managing director Jim Lyon said the decision could have serious repercussions for the future of the container tank manufacturers.
An agreement had been in place with the landlord, GBB Estates, for UBH to buy its main building if permission were granted for the housing development. The deal would have allowed UBH to invest £1m in redeveloping the building and infrastructure to move into a different area of the market to hopefully safeguard the long-term future of its 66 employees.
He said: “It’s a very competitive market. All we do is to protect jobs on site in the long term. If we don’t move forward, Chinese and South African markets are becoming more competitive and it could lead to our long term future being at risk.”
The applicants are now understood to be considering an appeal against the decision.
At the planning meeting there was a heated debate about the levels of noise residents would be subjected to, with Cllr Roger Bell arguing that the noise was only marginally over the set levels.
He said: “I find it impossible to believe the [noise mitigation measures] proposed would not deliver what we require.”
But borough planner John Harrison said that there were significant concerns from officers over the noise levels and if the plans were allowed there would be no protection for residents should changes at the site result in higher noise levels in future.
Cllr David Westley seconded a motion for refusal from Cllr Eddie Pope citing the “very clear advice from the borough planner”.