Factory manager’s anger at blunder

SP92277 Merrit Plastics Ilkeston
SP92277 Merrit Plastics Ilkeston

A FACTORY manager has said he has been treated unfairly after a council blunder means a noise screen between his business and a 250-home estate will now not be built.

It was revealed this week that it was ‘unlawful’ for councillors to ask developers Taylor Wimpey to build a screen to block noise between its estate off Heanor Road and UPVC manufacturers Merritt Plastics.

Erewash Borough Council’s planning committee – made up of councillors – asked for the noise ‘bund’ when they discussed the plan for the Briars Chase estate in 2008 but were told at a meeting on Wednesday that the move was illegal.

Simon Readman, from the Manners Industrial Estate firm, which employs 40 people and has invested £2m in the factory in the last six months, told councillors it operates 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, unrestricted and will now receive complaints from residents in the new houses about noise.

He said after the meeting that he may now be forced to build a noise screen on his own land to keep residents happy.

“It is unfair that we will have to pay for that,” he said.

“We have not been treated fairly by the council.”

Mark Flatman, representing Taylor Wimpey, explained to councillors that the bund would have taken land away from the developer and therefore would be unlawful.

Last week Mr Readman issued a warning about the impact this U-turn could have on his business but after the meeting he remained defiant that the decision will not force him out of town.

“If this was a transport firm we would probably go under,” he explained, “but we are a thriving business. Over the years we have had challenges that we have overcome.”

Cllr Howard Griffiths said that councillors’ hands were tied.

“I think members were actually trying to protect the business from future complaints,” he said.

“The idea was right but technically we were wrong.”

He asked that Taylor Wimpey enters into discussions with Mr Readman and said he ‘hoped they could come to some agreement’.

Cllr John Frudd asked that the decision be deferred – a move which Mr Readman would have welcomed to try and give him time to strike a deal with the developers – but was outvoted.

Managing director of Taylor Wimpey Dominic Harman said: “Our new homes will be constructed using the very latest requirements to mitigate any existing or future noise from the adjacent commercial buildings, and we are pleased that the planning committee has agreed with our proposals.

“We will, of course, remain in discussion with our neighbouring landowners as work progresses as we continue to provide the much-needed new homes in the area.

“If any of our residents or neighbours have concerns and wish to speak to us about this issue, we would be only too happy to hear from them.”