A massive £120m vote of confidence is in prospect for the future of Ellesmere Port.
German owned corrugated board producer Prowell on the Pioneer Business Park is poised to build a two phase hi tech mega plant on former Cabot Carbon land at Lees Lane.
This will be the most efficient and powerful unit of its type in the world, it is claimed.
Parent company Progroup, based in the country’s Rhineland, say they will be committing 75m Euros with the borough’s planning committee due to hear on Tuesday September 5 the first phase of the new build, if approved, would bring forward investment ‘in the order’ of £120m.
There would be new job opportunities in construction and operations and within the local supply chain including local services.
“This represents a major economic benefit,” suggests a report.
The application itself has been made by Peel Investments with Progroup suggesting the new location will become the ‘absolute benchmark of the entire industry’.
The company is launching ‘a considerable expansion project’ to increase capacity by building new plants in Italy and the UK according to trade journals.
Lees Lane would see ‘the most powerful corrugated board plant in the entire industry’ with Progroup saying it is Europe‘s fastest growing corrugated board manufacturer.
Planners describe the proposal as ‘a significant new investment on a key strategic site within Ellesmere Port’ and point out employment development in the area is supported by the council’s regeneration team and by the Ellesmere Port Development Board.
The application seeks full planning permission for 30,470 sq m of manufacturing space in the first phase with outline plans to add a second building of up to 43,500 sq m.
The site is in a mainly industrial area, the report states, close to the Shropshire Union Canal with the M53 further away.
Full details have been submitted for phase one of the new build with phase two in outline.
The initial manufacturing space would be mainly 15m high with a 41.5m high storage area while phase 2 would add up to 43,500 sq m of manufacturing space with building heights between 15m and 18m. A 4,600 sq m storage area would have a maximum height of up to 43m.
There would be a bridge link to the phase 1 building.
Concerns have been submitted as to the traffic implications on adjoining roads but councillors are due to hear it is not considered HGV movements would have a significant impact on South Road/New Bridge Road or on junction 10 of the M53. No highway objections have been raised.
Approval is recommended subject to conditions.
The firm first moved to Ellesmere Port in 2008 on the basis of the town offering the best infrastructure and proximity to port facilities and motorway links being close to the M56 and the M53. It considered other sites in Cheshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
The company already operates from nine other locations across Europe.
Then borough council leader, Justin Madders (Lab), now the MP, said at the time: “Prowell’s decision to locate in Ellesmere Port is a fantastic boost for the town.
“It is clearly a recognition of the huge investment that has been made here by the private and public sector.”