Decision day looms - after three years - for F P MCann to extend their concrete factory at Littleport

F P McCann submitted this drawing three years ago to show the extent of the area needed for their co

F P McCann submitted this drawing three years ago to show the extent of the area needed for their concrete factory extension and how it would blend in with their existing factory. Picture: HARRY RUTTER. - Credit: Archant

Councillors are expected to decide next month the fate of F P McCann’s controversial proposals to extend their concrete factory in Wisbech Road, Littleport.

Planning officers at East Cambridgeshire District Council have agreed with the company that the proposals - first lodged in August 2016 - will be decided by July 5.

McCann believe their proposals will not affect the neighbourhood and will bring up to extra 90 jobs to the village through an investment of more than £2 million.

However protest group Save Our Fens has fought the proposals throughout, claiming it would result in 30 acres of Mare Fen being used and green fields concreted over.

"The site will also house a factory building 50ft high (higher than St George's Church) and covering an area of over 33,000 sq ft as well two giant silos 64 ft high (higher than four and a half double decker buses)," says the protest group.

"What was a beautiful fen landscape will be an ugly, noisy and dusty industrial site."

Dozens of protest letters have been lodged with the district council although Littleport Parish Council, following the latest consultation by East Cambs Council, says they have 'no concerns' about the application.

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However one recent letter opposing the plans has come from Byley Parish Council Cheshire where McCann has another concrete plant.

Noise, says the council, "is a big problem from the site. They keep saying to the council's it's only temporary but has been going on for a year".

In their latest reports to East Cambs Council, agents for McCann claim that an alternative site is not feasible.

"The applicant already employs 90 people at Littleport, each of whom has valuable experience in the precast concrete industry" says their report. "It is the applicant's intention to use this existing skills base to train and mentor the new staff which will be required to operate the proposed development.

"The sharing of these unique skills will be essential to the commercial success of the proposed development and if it were sited at an alternative location within the district, further away from the existing operations at Littleport, this knowledge-sharing process would simply not be possible."

One neighbour accused the company of "deliberately" failing to address the noise issue and accused the McCann's of having "no respect for the planning process; its action suggest that it sees planning as something it must get round to achieve its commercial objectives".

The neighbour said they had been subjected to a "combination of bullying, misinformation and empty promises" throughout the three years the plans have been discussed.