In its first planning application and, before that, at meetings with planners and councillors, FP McCann made the claim that the new factory and concrete storage area would create 90 jobs for local people. Ever since then planners, councillors and even many local people have believed the claim.
But what are the facts? We think this claim is highly dubious and features in the application because, otherwise, the proposal has absolutely nothing going for it and would surely be rejected. FP McCann have used this tactic at other sites to win planning permission. They know that the claims are never tested once the factory has been built so, to be blunt, they can say what they want about job creation.
FP McCann submitted no evidence to support the jobs claim (although this was required by planning guidelines) yet the prospect of jobs featured strongly in the planning officer's report to the committee when the application was first approved.
Under pressure from objectors, the planning officer wrote to FP McCann in mid-June to request this supporting information. This was promised within two to three weeks but has still not been submitted. Why the delay? If the original jobs claim was honest, surely the back-up information would have been available straight away?
An academic study has concluded that the claim of 90 jobs is simply not credible, even if these new employees were paid way below the minimum wage. Furthermore, it has pointed out that council policies envisage about 134 new jobs per acre of land reallocated for employment purposes. FP McCann's claim represents 3 jobs per acre.
Local developers and commercial property experts have written to the council to explain that a large heavy industrial site will actually drive better quality jobs away from Littleport. This stands to reason. If you had a new tech start-up business would you locate your office next to a dirty, noisy dusty industrial site? Of course not.
No one disputes that a gaint new factory is going to create some new factory jobs. But we have an exaggerated claim of 90 that is not supported by any evidence, a claim that has been rubbished by experts and a site that will drive away higher quality jobs from the area.
Not only will this site be bad for the environment and bad for the community, it will be BAD for jobs!