A HIXON company has been branded “monstrous” after it demolished and replaced a chimney without planning permission.
Jesse Brough Metals International (JBMI) tore the stack down and replaced it with one 10 feet higher – even though they had been warned by Stafford Bor- ough Council that they might not get planning permission.
A council planning officer visited the Church Lane site the day the old chimney was demolished.
The company applied to replace the old 72ft-high chimney at its refinery in Octo- ber, thinking it would be dealt with by Christmas – one of only two annual plant shutdowns.
The firm said the application was delayed when Hixon Parish Council asked for an extension to the consultation period.
Managing director Miles Brough said they decided to complete the work anyway after an engineer expressed health and safety concerns about the existing chimney.
The borough council’s development manager, Jon Holmes, said he had told Mr Brough the work would be carried out at his own risk as there was no guarantee planning permission would be granted.
Resident Tim Fielding, of Sycamore Drive, said: “They ( JBMI) are monstrous. They shouldn’t start working on the site when they haven’t got planning permis-sion. I would like to see their environ-
mental permit suspended immediately.” When the planning application was submitted a couple “strongly objected”, saying the new 82ft chimney would tower above the surrounding buildings, including the primary school.
Mr Brough said: “The risk we took was a measured one. When we decided to go ahead at the end of December we had had no objections whatsoever.
"We did this with the full knowledge of the planning department. We are not doing anything wrong," he said. "The risk is that if we are not given planning permission we could, potentially, have to take it down. It was a risk we were prepared to take.”
A spokesman for the borough council said: “A decision on the planning application is due next week.
"If the application is refused then we would have to consider enforcement action.”