AN Aldermaston company whose expansion plans were placed in jeopardy due to delays in planning procedures at West Berkshire Council has threatened to ‘up sticks’ and move from the district.
Pump Technology, located at Young’s Industrial Estate in Paices Hill, contacted the West Berkshire Council (WBC) planning department in August with an initial, pre-planning application aimed at expanding the business, which project manager Clive Vare said was “bursting at the seams”.
He said the plans for the pump product supply company were now in serious doubt after “hitting the buffers” with planners over what he said was a straightforward application.
In a December 12 email to the WBC planning department, Mr Vare said: “We are also at the point where we cannot go ahead with our financing arrangements without a response to our pre-app,” said Mr Vare.
“The MD is 70 next year and is now minded to simply close the doors and end long-term skilled jobs for dozens of directly and indirectly employed local people or relocate the business near to his home in Devon.”
West Berkshire Council spokesman Martin Dunscombe issued the following statement on Wednesday (Dec 14):
“We sympathise with Mr Vare’s position and hope to respond to his enquiry in the next week.
“Pre-application enquiries provide an opportunity to have a council input into plans which are being considered for a formal application. However, they are not compulsory and it is possible to submit a formal application at any time for those who want to progress things more quickly.
“As pre-application enquiries are discretionary, we give priority to planning matters where we have statutory obligations we have to meet. Unfortunately this can sometimes cause a delay in responding to pre-application enquiries as has happened in this case.”