Bridgnorth aluminium plant's mill plan approved

A rolling mill that should create 65 jobs at an aluminium plant has been given the go-ahead.

Bridgnorth aluminium plant's mill plan approved

The new mill, which is part of a £41 million extension of Bridgnorth Aluminium's factory, was given the go-ahead by Shropshire Council's south planning committee, despite objections from neighbours that the plant's expanding footprint is leading to a "significant blight" on the landscape.

Plans for the rolling mill at the plant in Stourbridge Road include a slightly larger building at the centre of the complex, an oil filter plant and transformer enclosure, two new exhaust stacks that will not rise above the current height of the buildings, plus a new air purification building with its own stack.

The air purification stack has proved most controversial, standing about 26 metres in height.

Bridgnorth Town Council has expressed "reservations" about the height and asked for the stack to be painted "in a colour agreeable with residents".

Bridgnorth Civic Society backed the plans but claimed the exhaust stack was unnecessarily high and would be "visually obtrusive", also calling for adequate sound insulation and more information about traffic movements.

However, principal planning officer Richard Fortune said the chimney would be there to protect the public, stopping rolling oil entering the atmosphere, reducing pollution and making emissions safe.

Councillor John Hurst-Knight, responsible for Bridgnorth West and Tasley, said he found it difficult to understand where the objectors were coming from.

He said Bridgnorth Aluminium, the town's biggest employer, was "a success story not just in Bridgnorth, not just in Shropshire, but in the UK as a whole".

Of the air purification stack, he said: "We've already seen that this stack is smaller than some others already on the same site."

Others agreed with Robert Tindall, councillor for Brown Clee, adding that in his view the stack should be pale grey as the most unobtrusive colour.

But, he pointed out, it depended where the viewer was looking from as to whether the chimney would be set against dark hills or the light sky.

Bridgnorth Aluminium took over the former Novelis mills in 2010 and now employs about 310 people, set to rise to 375 by 2017 now the new plans have been approved.

The £41 million investment, warmly welcomed by MP Philip Dunne for bringing more highly-skilled jobs to the town, will see production increasing by a third, from 90,000 tonnes of aluminium per year to 120,000.

It is hoped the first production off the line will start by the end of the year and then new people will start being employed.

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