Ibstock Brick, whose plans to build a new factory and stock yard have angered residents
Residents on a village estate are up in arms over a brick manufacturing company's plans to build a new factory and yard near their homes.
Ibstock Brick, the UKs leading manufacturer of clay facing bricks, wants to more than double the size of its current production.
The planning application, submitted to Leicestershire County Council as the county minerals authority, has angered people living on the village's Redlands Estate, off Leicester Road.
Pensioner Tina Browne said the factory was too close to homes.
She said: " The new factory is planned to be within 50m of houses and will include noisy drying machinery that is in constant operation.
"The height of the building will be 17m and the chimney 30m tall.
"While the stockyard will generate constant light and noise from vehicles as bricks are moved out of the factory after production."
Mrs Browne said residents support Ibstock Brick's plans to expand.
She said: "We understand that the new development will bring more work to the area and that is to be welcomed.
"However, this is going to be a massive structure that will be in operation 24 hours a day.
"Building it so close to homes will have a devastating effect on the lives of people who live immediately next to the site, because they will have to put up with increased levels of noise, dust and light pollution night and day."
Campaigners want the firm to relocate the proposed factory to another part of the operation's 320-acre site.
They also claim the company led them to believe a former 'clay hole' near their homes would become a recreational area after it was filled in.
Colin Brownlow, who has lived on the Redlands Estate for over 40 years, said: "They said the it would be given to the community for recreational purposes, presumably as compensation for all the years that we had to put up with living next to an open cast mine and all the muck it generated.
"This latest proposal is really devastating for local residents, most of whom are pensioners like me."
Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, has taken up residents' concerns with the firm.
He said: "This expansion of the factory would secure the future of the site and be of significant economic benefit.
"Residents do have concerns regarding the location of the proposed new building and I have conveyed those to the company.
"Meetings have been scheduled between the company and residents and hopefully this will progress the matter."
Ibstock Brick currently employs about 260 full time workers at the site.
It said the new factory will create a further 50 jobs.
The firm said the expansion was necessary to meet growing orders from the construction industry, which is having to import bricks from Europe to meet demand.
It said the new factory would produce 100 million bricks a year – enough to build an extra 15,000 homes a year – taking total production to 190 million bricks a year.
In a statement, the company said: "The Ibstock site is uniquely positioned strategically in the UK on good arterial road links.
"Reserves of clay at the site are within the existing consented areas and this, together with adjoining land, mean clay will continue to be extracted locally and will not require importation by road.
"Brick making has taken place on the site since as far back as 1830 and at that time was intrinsically linked to the coal mining activities in the area.
"Some of the buildings on site today can be traced to the early 19th century but have been added to and modified to meet the changing demand for brick production."
Ibstock Brick has 19 factories, and employs almost 1,400 people in the UK. The Ibstock site serves as the head office.
Source : leicestermercury.co.uk pa David Owen