Pressure group renew challenge to Littleport concrete plant extension they claim is ‘five times the size of Ely leisure village’

F P McCann of Littleport apply for £2million expansion. PHOTO: Harry Rutter

F P McCann of Littleport apply for £2million expansion. PHOTO: Harry Rutter - Credit: Archant

Residents who claim an extension to a concrete plant in Littleport will make it five times the size of Ely leisure village criticised a new report that says it will not make “a perceptible difference” to the view.

Save Our Fens, a pressure group made of residents opposed to the concrete plant extension, cling to the belief that either the Secretary of State for the Environment or East Cambs District Council will halt it.

“Concrete will be stored on open farmland,” said a spokesman for the group. “The new site will be the size of 30 football pitches. This new report is biased and full of holes.

“Instead of holding their hands up and admitting they made a mistake last time, the council continues to scrabble around to justify their previous decision even though it was thrown out in court.”

F P McCann is getting close to a decision on their Wisbech Road concrete plant that will double in size – and create dozens of jobs – if it goes ahead.

The current application has been with East Cambs planners for 18 months after a previous application was approved but then rejected by the Secretary of State.

The new report released last week – commissioned by the council – concludes that a time consuming environmental impact assessment is not needed.

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Consultants concluded that the council had “an adequate level of information” to assess the potential significant effects of the development.

The study concludes that noise levels can be “appropriately managed” and that, effectively, the council is in a position to make a decision.

However council planning officers say it will not go before the planning committee until the Government has reached its own conclusion about an environmental impact assessment and if one is needed.

One critic, resident Lynn Osborn, said she didn’t think people fully understood the scale of the extension proposed by F P McCann.

“The factory will cover 33,000 sq ft and have two towers rising 64ft into the sky, “she said. “I wouldn’t describe that as ‘imperceptible’”.

Littleport property entrepreneur Rick Parisi has threatened to pull the plug on further investment into the village if planners allow F P McCann to double in size.

He says the type of high quality businesses that his companies seek to attract “would not want to be adjacent to a massive operation of this type. This will make neighbouring property very difficult to let.”

Through his portfolio of interests, Mr Parisi owns Black Bank Business Centre which is a mile from the McCann’s site and home to around 25 firms with a further 14 units in the pipeline.

His Paragon Land and Estates Ltd also owns a business centre almost adjacent to McCann’s which has permission for around 10 units.

Mr Parisi said if McCann’s won approval “it would have a serious negative impact on both the quality and quantity of jobs in the locality.

“It would bring in some low quality jobs but would cost a much larger number of high quality jobs.

“I am sure that this opinion will reflect the feelings of most of the businesses in the vicinity.”

Littleport Parish Council says they expect the district council to use “due diligence to look at complaints” about the McCann’s proposals.