Posted: Sun 25th Jun 2023

Factory extension that could create 22 jobs approved by councillors /
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jun 25th, 2023

A FACTORY extension that could create 22 jobs has been welcomed by Blaenau Gwent councillors.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday, June 15, councillors discussed a proposal by Blackwood Engineering Ltd to extend at the back and side of its current building in Blaina.
The proposal is for a new manufacturing building would allow the firm’s capacity to double, as well as provide storage facilities, extra car parking and perimeter landscaping at Unit 21 on the Rising Sun Industrial Estate in Blaina.
The firm makes castings and counterweights and has been based in Blaenau Gwent since 1946.
Planning officer Helen Hinton explained that the proposal  would be made up of various extensions – some single-storey and some two-storeys that would “warp around” the current building.
Two extra metal flue stacks with a maximum height of 11.2 metres – which would match the four existing flues at the factory – are also part of the scheme.
A separate heavy goods vehicle access, parking and turning area would also be provided to the north-west of the development.
Ms Hinton said: “It is recommended that the application is approved subject to conditions.
“We do request that the chair grant officer delegated powers to make some amendments to the conditions given responses received from Public Health and Natural Resources Wales (NRW).”
Planning agent for Blackwood Engineering, Tom Griffin of the Salt Consultancy spoke at the meeting.
Mr Griffin said: “With continued growth the application site was acquired in 2021 as a second manufacturing facility in the county borough.
“Following a strategic appraisal Blackwood Engineering seek to expand this facility in line with the business demands.
“The development proposal is much needed and will also have an impact on job creation and the economic development of the area.
“We believe this exciting project is a real positive statement for business in the area.”
Under new rules for the Planning Committee, chairwoman Cllr Lisa Winnett, who represents Blaina, was not allowed to vote on the application, but was allowed to speak on the proposal.
Cllr Winnett said: “I welcome and fully support this expansion even more so as there’s going to be 22 extra jobs.
“It exciting that this is coming to Blaina and I thank Blackwood engineering for wanting to expand there.”
Cllr Wayne Hodgins said that it would be “ideal to have the metal counterweights” stored in building” rather than “rusting” outside.
Due to a nearby watercourse Cllr Hodgins believed rusting metal could create a “contamination issue.”
Cllr Hodgins said: “It’s a sensible approach and creating employment give long term viability for the company.
“I’m really happy to support it.”
Making reference to the job losses at Tillery Valley Foods last month, committee vice-chairman, Cllr Peter Baldwin said: “It’s bringing more jobs to the area which we need after what happened in Abertillery.
“It’s a company that’s been established in this area for many years.”
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the application and allow planning officers to tweak conditions under delegated powers.
A sustainable drainage system (SUDS) application will also need to be approved. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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