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30 jobs under threat as Shifnal firm told to leave

By Dominic Robertson | Shifnal | Business | Published:

A business that employs 30 people and turns over more than £10 million a year has been told it has eight months to leave its premises.

Ren-New and Imperial Bricks' website

A planning inspector has rejected an appeal against a planning enforcement notice issued to Ren-New and Imperial Bricks, based at Grindle House Farm, Grindle, near Shifnal.

The business has been involved in a protracted saga over its attempts to secure planning permission for the site, but has finally lost out after planning inspector Chris Preston ruled that residents' concerns over the amount of traffic to the site were valid.

The company currently uses Havenhills Road as its access route, with around five articulated HGV visits, and five rigid HGV visits a day.

Mr Preston said he accepted the concerns of local residents.

He said: "I have no doubt that local road users will feel uncomfortable using the road as a result of fears for highway safety. That could apply to all road users but pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders will feel particularly exposed to the impact of heavy traffic passing by in close proximity on a single width carriageway."

He added: "I find that the local road network is wholly unsuitable to accommodate the level and nature of traffic associated with the use of the site. The increase in the use of the road network has been detrimental to highway safety and to the way in which the road network is used by all forms of traffic."

Business owner Jason Hughes said he was disappointed at the decision and that the focus would now be on finding suitable alternative premises to avoid the need for job losses.

He said: "My understanding is now we have been given eight months to find an alternative site. We are respectful of the planning rules but our problem is we need a specific site and to find a site with the access, the land, the buildings and the offices is very difficult.

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"We are looking around but to date we cannot find any suitable sites."

Mr Hughes said that all the staff are employed locally and that if they are unable to relocate there will be "ramifications".

He said: "If we cannot find a suitable site then we would have to look at the business and how we structure it and how we change it and ultimately that could lead to some unemployment. It is all down to what we can find."

Mr Hughes said he had been frustrated that the attempts to appease local residents had not been successful.

He said: "We try and route the vehicles on one road. They come down Havenhills Road which has passing places so in the event of a vehicle coming down they can pull in and pass by. All the traffic surveys we did suggest that the roads were suitable for the amount of traffic we generate. We currently do not generate more traffic than the working farm did."

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