200 glass plant jobs may be lost

More than 200 jobs at Europe's largest glass-making and bottling factory at Elton near Chester hung in the balance last night after a judge's ruling.

Construction of Quinn Glass Ltd's giant plant has only just been completed and the first of its giant 600-tonne furnaces was only "fired up" in April.But at the Appeal Court Judge Andrew Gilbart QC said Quinn Glass had taken a "very considerable gamble" when it invested millions in the plant without obtaining planning permission.Story continues He also condemned Chester City Council's "unacceptable and lax" approach before it issued a Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Permit for the plant in March.The permit had also been issued at the behest of the council's chief executive, Paul Durham, who had "acted outside the scope of his authority", the judge ruled.Now the threat of having to shut down the plant's furnace, and make more than 200 staff redundant, looms after Judge Gilbart overturned the permit and ordered the council to reconsider its decision.All may not yet be lost, however, after the judge granted the company permission to appeal against parts of his ruling and "stayed" the quashing order pending the outcome of the appeal.With the future dominance of the UK's glass making and bottling industry at stake, the judge said the challenge had justifiably been brought to court by Quinn's bitter trade rivals, West Yorkshire-based Rockware Glass Ltd.County Fermanagh-based Quinn Glass - which is backed by Irish billionaire, Sean Quinn, and his family - has estimated that shutting down the plant will cost about £2m.But the judge said the millions spent on the factory and the taking on of large numbers of employees "represented the taking of a calculated risk".More than 200 jobs at Europe's largest glass-making and bottling factory at Elton near Chester hung in the balance last night after a judge's ruling.

Construction of Quinn Glass Ltd's giant plant has only just been completed and the first of its giant 600-tonne furnaces was only "fired up" in April.

But at the Appeal Court Judge Andrew Gilbart QC said Quinn Glass had taken a "very considerable gamble" when it invested millions in the plant without obtaining planning permission.

Story continues

He also condemned Chester City Council's "unacceptable and lax" approach before it issued a Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Permit for the plant in March.

The permit had also been issued at the behest of the council's chief executive, Paul Durham, who had "acted outside the scope of his authority", the judge ruled.

Now the threat of having to shut down the plant's furnace, and make more than 200 staff redundant, looms after Judge Gilbart overturned the permit and ordered the council to reconsider its decision.

All may not yet be lost, however, after the judge granted the company permission to appeal against parts of his ruling and "stayed" the quashing order pending the outcome of the appeal.

With the future dominance of the UK's glass making and bottling industry at stake, the judge said the challenge had justifiably been brought to court by Quinn's bitter trade rivals, West Yorkshire-based Rockware Glass Ltd.

County Fermanagh-based Quinn Glass - which is backed by Irish billionaire, Sean Quinn, and his family - has estimated that shutting down the plant will cost about £2m.

But the judge said the millions spent on the factory and the taking on of large numbers of employees "represented the taking of a calculated risk".

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