We think the cement dust blowing over the new school will be a health hazard
The constant delivery of cement and aggregates and loading and unloading of lorries within the site is going to generate noise and dust. The prevailing wind will blow any dust across the A10 to Littleport village and the new school. Silica dust (present in cement and concrete) is a health hazard and can cause cancer. At the planning committee a representative from the company stated that "In the yard, there was normally a person watering all day long to keep the dust down..." Whilst this statement is laughable, it confirms that there is an existing problem with dust which will only be made worse through expansion. And what happens if there is an accident?
We think factories should be built on land already allocated for industrial use, not on farmland or by schools.
This is a heavy industrial site. There is land available within the area that is unused and has already been allocated for heavy industrial use. We think F P McCann are seeking to build on adjacent farmland simply because it is cheaper and easier to do this than to build on land already set aside for this use. They have done this before at other sites in the country. We think the company are putting their profits before concerns for the welfare of local residents or for the environment. (The company is family-owned and has seven family shareholders. It made profits of £19.1m last year. We think they can afford to build elsewhere.)
We think this will drive jobs away from Littleport.
There is a claim in the report to the planning committee that the expansion "...is expected to generate another 90 jobs..." However this "expectation" is not supported by a business plan (although this is required in the planning regulations). Finance experts have looked at the jobs claim and say that it is not credible. Despite this the jobs claim has not been challenged by the council or the councillors. Once the expansion has taken place, there will be no test as to whether the jobs have been created. We think that it is more likely that this new site will inhibit jobs growth and stifle the local economy. Nobody will locate new jobs-creating light industry or commerce close to a giant concrete sites. And, notwithstanding the damage to local property values, who will want to buy a new house in the shadow of a concrete factory?
We think sites like this should not be built on floodplains when other suitable land is available.
We don't just think this, it is a planning requirement. The proposed site is on a flood plain. It is a requirement set out in the National Planning Policy Framework that sites of this nature should be located in areas of lower flood risk if these are "reasonably available". There are alternative sites, already with the appropriate allocation, that are available locally. The Environment Agency has objected to the proposal because FP McCann's flood risk assessment "does not provide a suitable basis for assessment to be made of the flood risks."
We think the new development will be massively out of scale with its landscape and surroundings.
Planning policies emphasise the importance of this site being of a scale which would "not harm the character and appearance of the area having particular regard to scale, height, design and massing of buildings...". As regards scale, the new site will more than double the are covered by the entire existing industrial park; the new factory and giant silos will dwarf all surrounding buildings. The company concedes that the visual impact from the clusters of properties to the north and west of the expansion will be "significant". The company also claims that the development "would appear either as a natural extension to the village or as an infill of the existing urban pattern." We consider these claims to be ridiculous. This is a massive concrete manufacturing facility to be built on farmland.
We think the site will severely damage the quality of life of local residents.
The report to the planning committee states "...it is accepted that the large concrete production building will be prominent to the north of the site and visible in the wider landscape, from the A10 and from Marefen and Little Marefen Drove and from properties to the north and northwest of the site." In the jargon, the development will have a negative impact on their "residential amenity", contrary to the requirements of local planning policies. Furthermore, in his report to the planners, the Senior Trees officer for ECDC states "I have concerns this proposal will have a negative impact upon the landscape character of the area which would be in conflict with guidance within the local plan (ENV1: Landscape and settlement character)."
We think the site will be hideously ugly, noisy and dusty.
We think it is without dispute that a massive concrete and steel building in the middle of a field is going to be an eyesore. There have been several complaints about noise form the existing F P McCann site so we think it is self-evident that more than doubling the size of the plant will generate more noise. (The site is extending to the north and north-west yet noise assessment has been submitted using readings taken to the south and south west!) We think the constant delivery of cement and aggregates, loading and unloading of lorries within the site is going to generate noise and dust. The prevailing wind will blow any dust across the A10 towards Littleport and the new school. Silica dust (present in cement and concrete) can cause cancer. At the planning committee a representative from the company stated that "In the yard, there was normally a person watering all day long to keep the dust down..." Whilst this statement is laughable, it does suggest that there is an existing problem with dust which will only be made worse through expansion.
We think the site will generate more traffic, especially lorries.
We are assuming that the capacity of the site will be more than doubled as it is more than doubling in size and, it is claimed, there will be another 90 jobs. It is self-evident that this will mean more deliveries of raw materials to the site and of finished products from the site (destined, it is suggested by the company, for sites in London). If 90 more jobs are to be created, this will also generate more traffic as the site is not served by public transport.
We think the site will be bad for wildlife, for our community and for the environment.
The Environment Agency has objected to the proposal because "we consider that the proposed development may pose an unacceptable risk of causing detrimental impact to the surface water quality because the applicant appears to have failed to address the subject adequately."
We do not think proper process has been followed.
We have a number of concerns about the process that led to approval of the application. As a result of one of these errors, concerning the environmental impact of the site, the original planning permission has now been quashed by the High Court. Whilst this rather proves our point, we feel no purpose would be served by listing our concerns about due process on this website. We have discussed the issues with planners who, we feel, acted in good faith. At the end of the day, our primary concerns are about this potentially disastrous expansion, not about the process. That said, we do wish to state that we feel the first report to the planning committee was not balanced and this led, in our view, to a flawed planning decision. This development undeniably has a long list of actual or potential negative impacts on the community and on the environment generally. The extent to which the impact of these negative factors can be mitigated is a matter of opinion. Set against this long list of negative factors is a single potential benefit - that the expansion may create jobs. For reasons discussed above, we do not consider this potential benefit to be reliable and we certainly cannot see how any balanced consideration of all the factors can possibly arrive at a decision to approve such a scheme in such a location.