TORY MP George Osborne has vowed to battle against plans to build a massive gas storage facility at Lach Dennis.
The Tatton MP is meeting with Ineos Enterprises on Friday to discuss the company's plans to build the gas plant at Holford Brinefields, between Lach Dennis and Byley and just two miles from parts of Northwich.
Outline plans show that the plant will consist of about 30 cavities for underground gas storage, with a transmission station being built at Stublach Grange Farm, near Lach Dennis. Two roads will access the plant from King Street and from Byley and the M6 to the compression station.
Ineos says it hopes to submit a planning application to Cheshire County Council by the end of December and have the facilities open by 2009.
But Mr Osborne, who backed the fight against another gas plant down the road at Byley, said: 'I am extremely concerned about it. I was involved in the long fight against the Byley gas plant and took an active role in discussions. I suspect it is going to be another long battle over the proposals for Lach Dennis.
'This will have a huge environmental impact and there are safety issues. There are a lot of young families in Lach Dennis and people are very concerned about storing gas at high pressure under the ground.
'Why is this part of Cheshire being used for such purposes, what with the incinerator and another gas storage at Byley? It is one thing after another and it is having an impact on people in the community.
'People can rest assured they have the support of their MP behind them in the fight ahead.'
In the case of the Byley development, the plans were railroaded through by the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott against the wishes of local people, and Mr Osborne added: 'No doubt this, too, will end up on the desk of Mr Prescott. Let's hope he does not overrule the thoughts of the people in the community again on this decision.'
Meanwhile, Northwich Cty Cllr George Mainwaring, who is against the proposals, has criticised the timing of the announcement, in light of Ineos' £5billion purchase of a chemical division from BP. He said: 'Ineos said the gas plant would help the business, but if it has £5billion to spend, then it can't be doing too badly.'
Lach Dennis Parish Council chairman John Hardman added: 'There will be serious objections to it. There is the safety issue of the gas and of course the value of the property that may be affected.'