THE future of a giant glass manufacturing and bottling plant on Chester's outskirts is likely to be considered by councillors in December.
The Quinn Glass plant in Ince, which provides 560 jobs, has been built and in production since spring 2005 although it does not have planning permission.
Approval for the plant was rejected by former Communities and Local Government Secretary Ruth Kelly who raised a number of concerns following an inquiry.
It emerged in her decision that a fresh application might be the way forward.
Her decision is being challenged by Quinn in the High Court while competitors Ardagh Glass and a small number of local residents have called for enforcement action.
Councillors in both Chester, which contains the majority of the site and Ellesmere Port and Neston have decided not to take enforcement action due to the possibility a fresh application would be put forward by the company.
Both councils have had regular reports on the situation which have pointed more recently to a lack of complaints from local residents.
They argue it is not expedient to take enforcement measures.
The company put forward a new application in February this year and Ardagh Glass have asked that this should also be called in.
In the meantime, the councils have been told up by the Government Office for the North West that they should not grant permission for the development without special authorisation although the direction does not prevent them from refusing approval.
Ellesmere Port and Neston planning committee was told by borough planning chief Mr Tom Miller at its meeting this month (October) that the complex application includes a number of issues which require careful consideration.
Since the original submission, Quinn Glass has submitted further information and more is expected shortly.
“Under the circumstances, it is not possible to say exactly when the application is to be reported to planning committee for consideration but it is likely to be December of this year,'' said Mr Miller.
He says his report will consider, amongst other things, how the company has dealt with the concerns raised by Mrs Kelly in her previous decision.
These included the adequacy of a road junction at Ash Road and Ince Lane where improvements are likely to start soon, councillors were told.
They also heard that as the factory was substantially complete in April 2005, the period for any enforcement action will end next March.
Solicitors for Ardagh Glass have again written arguing they believe the local authorities should take enforcement action “several months” before the period expires to ensure there is “no doubt” that steps were taken within the requisite time period.
They suggested they could see no reason why action could not be taken at the planning committee's most recent meeting and said they could not understand why enforcement action was not being taken to protect the public interest.
The solicitors also believe the current planning application does not deal with the reasons which led to Mrs Kelly's decision to reject the previous plans.
“It is very difficult to take enforcement action in this case,” suggested Mr Miller.
He said the council's own legal advisers had indicated they were happy with the council's report which said the possibility of enforcement action should be kept under review and considered again after the new application had been reported to the committee.
Chester City Council is also expected to consider the application in December.