Concrete company expansion In Littleport will be like a prison camp say protestors

PUBLISHED: 11:41 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:41 03 May 2017

FP McCann Ltd of Wisbech Road, Littleport have been granted planning permission for a £2million expansion, which will create 90 new jobs.

FP McCann Ltd of Wisbech Road, Littleport have been granted planning permission for a £2million expansion, which will create 90 new jobs.

Archant

Village residents are fighting to protect their homes from what they say will be blight by a giant concrete factory that was given planning approval by East Cambs District Council.

Following a legal challenge, they are hoping a judge in London will quash the planning permission, giving the community of Littleport hope that they can halt the project on Mare Fen, proposed by F P McCann, a concrete manufacturer.

The decision is expected in the next few days.

“The company wants to more than double the size of its existing plant, laying concrete on 30 acres of former agricultural land, building a 50ft high factory and erecting two 70ft silos.

The plans include extensive security fencing and floodlights, prompting Peter Preston, a local resident, to warn that it will be like living in the shadow of a ‘prison camp’.

He is part of campaign group – saveourfens.co.uk – that claims noise and pollution from the factory will ruin locals’ quality of life.

Mr Preston said: “I urge neighbours and friends to help us preserve a precious part of this county”.

The site is surrounded by farmland and residential properties.

Local residents raise concerns about the loss of agricultural land to industrial use as well as worries about dust, noise, traffic and damage to the environment.

Another local resident, John Bosdet, said “It cannot be right that the council is allowing beautiful fenland to be lost when there are sites available in this area already designated for industrial use.

“Ely is dominated by views of its beautiful Cathedral. We don’t want Littleport dominated by views of an ugly concrete factory,” he added.

“Obviously, it’s cheaper for F P McCann to build on adjacent farmland than to find somewhere more suitable. But we think they are putting their profits before any concerns about the impact on residents or on the environment generally.

“Now that people understand what is being proposed, we hope they will exercise their right to object.

“That’s why we have formed a campaign group, saveourfens.co.uk, to get the information to them. A scheme of this size and impact requires proper scrutiny.”

Rick Parisi, who lives near the site, says “There have been numerous complaints in the past about noise from the existing site so the suggestion by the company that building a new concrete factory and more than doubling the size of the site will not create more noise and disturbance is frankly ridiculous.”

Objectors are also worried about dust pollution.

“Everybody knows that handling lorry loads of cement and aggregates every day causes dust” said Rick.

“Amazingly, F P McCann’s representative told the planning committee that one of their measures to keep this down was the employment of a man with a hosepipe!

“If that wasn’t enough, they also told the committee that a 50ft building stuck in the middle of a fen would not be noticeable because it is grey. It beggars belief.”

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