‘I beg to disagree on number of jobs you’ll offer’ academic claims of McCann expansion plans

One of many major contracts undertaken by F P McCann, this of a 235 metre viaduct supported on 130 c

One of many major contracts undertaken by F P McCann, this of a 235 metre viaduct supported on 130 concrete columns above the damaged sea wall on the main Dover to Folkestone rail line. The work followed a severe storm in December 2015 resulting in the partial collapse of 250 metres of sea wall. - Credit: Archant

An academic – and local resident - claims a £2 million expansion to FP McCann’s Littleport concrete plant would only create half the number of jobs as proposed.

FP McCann believes the expansion – which includes a new factory and two 64 foot silos – would create 90 jobs.

But a local finance expert has rebuffed those claims, saying that 46 is a more realistic number.

He also claims that if FP McCann were to employ 90 new staff, they would only be able to afford to pay them almost £2 less than the National Minimum Wage of £7.50 for workers aged 25 and over.

It’s also claimed that the expansion would not satisfy criteria set by East Cambridgeshire District Council in its latest local plan, which targets the creation of around 134 new jobs per hectare of land reallocated for employment purposes.

The expert - who doesn’t wish to be named - says FP McCann’s 7.5 hectare expansion would only provide 12 jobs per hectare – 122 less than the council’s target.

“FP McCann’s employment per hectare structure is substantially below the council’s job growth strategy requirements,” he said.

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“Allocating a substantial floor space, without creating enough jobs would likely drive away higher density light industry and commerce, whilst also endangering local employment prospects.

“Based on the aforementioned concerns, including lack of evidence on employment front, inefficient use of floor space, danger to local employment prospects and adverse impact on residential and agricultural lands, we strongly object to FP McCann’s proposal.”

The development has been heavily criticised by protestor group ‘Save Our Fens,’ who took legal action against the council after FP McCann’s original application was approved last year.

The case went to the High Court and it was quashed after a judge ruled it lacked a study on any environmental impact. But since then, FP McCann has submitted a revised application.

A ‘Save Our Fens’ spokesman said: “No-one disputes that a giant new factory is going to create new jobs. But we have an exaggerated claim that is not supported by any evidence.”