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Legal action threat over heat shield plans between hazardous waste site and homes

By Jordan Reynolds | Cannock | Property | Published:

A business has threatened to take legal action if a council approves plans for a four metre-high heat shield between a hazardous waste site and homes which would otherwise remain empty.

Axil on the left with some of the new homes

An application has been lodged with Cannock Chase District Council for risk mitigation measures to be carried out at the site in Walkmill Lane, Cannock, where dozens of new homes were left empty after concerns were raised about their proximity to waste management firm Axil Integrated Services.

The plan includes the heat shield, the fitting of water sprinklers to 29 homes including an apartment block, two car parking spaces along the boundary with Axil being removed to reduce fire risk and gated access to the apartment block being installed.

But chartered surveyors Andrew Dixon and Co have written to the council threatening to launch a judicial review if the plan is approved, saying it highlights the council’s attempt to “brush the matter under the carpet”.

In a response to the application, Andrew Dixon and Co said: "We act on behalf of the landowner of the estate, Cannock Industrial Centre Limited, and are somewhat surprised that you have not written direct to our client regarding this planning application.

"Instead, this information has been relayed to the landlord second hand from Axil Services.

"This is completely unacceptable and shows very poor communication on the council's part as we have been involved in several meetings with the council and whg etc in connection with this matter.

"It should be noted that: we feel this application should go to committee, we strongly object to the application on behalf of the landowner, there are alternatives to constructing a heat shield fence to the boundary of Axil Service's site, the application directly affects our client's site/investment.

"Furthermore, this situation highlights a complete lack of control within the council and its attempt to 'brush the matter under the carpet'! Should this particular application be granted by the council, we will have no option but to take the matter to judicial review."

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The news comes after the first 14 homes have been filled which were among 48 left empty after concerns were raised.

The 48 were among 55 owned by housing association whg, with the remainder, which are not affordable housing, bought and occupied.

Homes England gave whg £1.3 million to provide the 55 affordable homes, which were given planning permission in January 2016.

And to move Axil now the homes have been built would cost £2 million, but the company said it would not foot the bill.

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A council spokesman said “The council can confirm that it has received an application for a heat shield barrier which has been advertised in accordance with the council’s protocol for advertising applications including providing a site notice and letters sent to neighbouring properties.

"Any comments received from third parties will be taken into account as well as those received from statutory consultees when the application is presented to the Planning Control Committee.”

A spokesman for whg said: “The application for the heatshield is currently in the council planning process. As with any planning applications, stakeholders have the opportunity to comment and any feedback will be considered and responded to as part of this process in due course.”

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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