A HIGH Court Judge has ordered an enforcement notice on the Quinn Glass plant at Elton which employs more than 500 workers.
But Judge David Mole refused permission for an immediate stop notice, which would have required a shut down and rejected an argument by rivals Ardagh Glass that under EC law planning permission cannot be granted retrospectively.
Cheshire West and Chester Council is to examine the small print of the ruling requiring the authority to issue the notice against the bottlemaking, filling and distribution plant within the next two weeks.
A planning application for the plant, put forward early in 2008 to the Chester City and Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Councils is with the new authority.
Leader Cllr Mike Jones and chief executive Steve Robinson must ensure the terms of the enforcement notice meet Judge Mole’s findings that activities on site should cease and buildings and works are removed.
They will bring in legal advisors to deal with that issue and the subsequent report on the planning application.
“We have now received the judge’s ruling with its potential implications for the area,” said Cllr Jones.
“The order of the High Court in respect of enforcement will, of course, be carried out within the correct time-scale. We now anticipate considering this complex application based strictly on its planning merits.”
He added: “We are, however, keeping all our options open”.
The High Court hearing was sought by Ardagh which wanted action against the plant.
Quinn has permission for a smaller development but the factory as built does not.
The issue is likely to be settled by local government secretary Hazel Blears and further court challenges are possible.
A Quinn spokesman said: “The judge dismissed Ardagh’s argument that under EC law planning permission cannot be granted retrospectively and did not support their demands for an immediate stop notice.
“The judge ordered that for a large multi-faceted development such as Quinn Glass, the local planning authorities should serve an enforcement notice in order to ensure the local authority's regulatory powers continue to be available.”
“Quinn Glass believes this judgement now clears the way for a determination of its current planning application and looks forward to having this matter finally resolved.”
Ardagh says it is also pleased by the ruling that enforcement action must be taken.
A spokesman said: “In requiring the enforcement action – effectively the first step to closing the facility – the judge agreed with evidence provided by a local resident that it would be ‘disgraceful’ if the Quinn facility should be allowed to gain immunity if enforcement action were not taken.”