“Steetley plan moves into second phase
Worksop Guardian Published Date: 20 March 2009
By Chantal Spittles
A PROPOSAL for the second phase of a Steetley development is under way.
Laing O’Rourke has submitted an application for an ‘innovative offsite manufacturing hub’, to sit alongside the concrete manufacturing plant. The development at the former Baker Refractory works will clean up a long-derelict site, bring 270 jobs to the area, and be a world leader in the construction industry.
A Laing O’Rourke (LOR) spokesman said a full environmental impact assessment has been submitted with the outline application – taking into account the effects of light, noise, dust and traffic on the local community.”The proposal is for an innovative offsite manufacturing hub, and represents a significant long-term investment by a major international construction company,” said the spokesman.
”It will deliver a vast array of benefits, including the creation of several hundred jobs over the the next few years, and decontamination of the site.”
Work began on the initial development in July last year, after the first foundations were laid, paving the way for manufacturing building components for a variety of projects, including the Olympic developments in London. Project leader Phil Hockley said the new factory – expected to be completed by the end of this year – would be a world first, and would be ahead of a similar proposed facility in Abu Dhabi in the Middle East.
The company has now submitted its Masterplan to Bolsover Council, outlining its plans for the rest of the site, with a focus on the new offsite hub. It proposes an array of buildings for industrial, warehouse and manufacturing offices, and even overnight accommodation.
But not everybody is delighted. A number of residents formed an action group to challenge the plan, saying that the factory was being built on conservation land. It took a High Court battle before the company got the final go-ahead for the main concrete manufacturing facility, as well as the new access road – allowing heavy goods vehicles to access the site from the A619 road – after it emerged victorious from the campaign group’s legal challenge in June last year.
At a special planning meeting held in October 2007, campaign spokesman Claire Littlewood said that planning officials were acting in a ‘frightening’ manner by ignoring Government directives to give priority to brownfield land – previously used for industrial purposes.
“We maintain the belief that the factory should have been built on the developed Baker’s Refractory site – if at all – and not on a conservation site, ancient woodland and caves,” she said. “