THE boss of a glass container factory accepts his company has broken a planning condition requiring a rail terminal to be operational by last November.
Chris Spray, operations director at Quinn Glass in Elton, made the admission at an employment tribunal in Liverpool.
The condition was attached when Quinn, which opened in 2005, gained retrospective planning consent for the factory in November 2009 and the rail head was supposed to be operational within two years.
It aimed to encourage a shift away from road-based transport and promote environmental quality.
Mr Spray, who told the tribunal there was currently ‘no time-frame’ for the completion of the rail head, said: “We made some proposals to Network Rail because we are required to have a rail head on site. It was broadly agreed to be acceptable to them.
“We started work and on the right-hand side of the site we spent tens of thousands of pounds clearing the site and getting it ready. We moved badger setts, we did all sorts of things to get the plant ready.
“Subsequently Network Rail came back to us and said we want you to spend an awful lot more money on upgrading Helsby and the sidings at Growhow at your cost.”
Mr Spray, who was under cross-examination by a lawyer representing HGV drivers made redundant from the plant, which employs about 730 workers, explained: “It’s been frustrated and more and more frustrated as time goes by.
“We had to write to the council saying we would not achieve our planning consent requirements right now because of the issues, so it’s not for want of trying.”
Three lorry drivers accused Quinn of unfairly dismissing them because of their membership and support of the Unite union and its application for recognition in collective bargaining. The firm argues the redundancies were due to economic reasons.
The case was due to finish yesterday (Wednesday).