Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Hairy Tale...

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in 1860, a very small cement plant was built at Rugby, with two horses and one cart to handle the materials. Bit by bit it grew bigger and bigger as each new kiln was introduced. Local residents did not notice, (perhaps due to the permanent smog) that all the raw materials had run out by 1965. So Rugby cement built a pipeline to pump in the chalk, 55 miles in sewerage slurry water.

They then built yet another kiln, and people grumbled about the air quality, the sulphur dioxide smells and the constant coverings of dust. Then on 14th April 1994 David Scott and Ian Smith of Rugby Cement met with Karen Down, head of planning at WCC to discuss the plans for a new and better, dust-free, cement plant. It all sounded so "promising" to an inexperienced, untrained, would-be planning officer, and that is where it began to go all wrong? The Minutes go like this:

* Rugby works - major investment proposal.
* Kiln can be readily converted to new system.
* Due to wet chalk from Kensworth must have pre-heater tower - can put this at Rugby.
* Southam will stay as fed at the moment.
* Would increase manufacture at Rugby, therefore continue to import minerals from Southam.
* Half length of kiln, and add pre-heater, and new buildings.
* More akin to semi-wet process.
* Timetable: try to get design by October - submit planning application.
* Want planning permission by December/January - all complete by 1997.
* Production now 0.4 Million tonnes.. New plant to be 1.15 million tonnes per annum.
* Lower emissions: NO precipitator dust to waste disposal.
* Can use opportunity to "tidy up the site".
* Would take down existing chimney. Height of new building to be 85 metres.
* Traffic main issue. And appearance and colour of the buildings.
* We would "like an environmental assessment", and Rugby Cement agree. Why not use rail, still have rail access to works: traffic: landscape: economy;employment:emissions/dust to water.
* Still have rail access to works therefore potential for rail access for cement and inert fill. This would need to be addressed in an EA.
* NO LONGER ANY minerals from Rugby.
* Joint meeting with RBC soon
* RUGBY BC may want some FUNDS for RELIEF ROAD.
* David Jarvis - landscape consultant.
* Brian Coal associates - Traffic.

So from this small beginning the mighty eyesore rose, looming out of its own pluming dust cloud, to hang over Rugby and destroy the town.

Watch out for the next exciting installment, the encounter between the WCC puppets and the mighty industrial string-pullers, with the hapless bystanders, the Clounty Councillors involved, also to be named.

3 comments:

don said...

Who done it then?

Where did you get all this stuff from?
You say here that RBC wanted the money for the Relief Road, that is now called the Western Relief Road and is still not built because there is a blazing row going on about it. Rugby Cement are insisting on putting it on green belt, grabbing farmers' land, as they may want to keep the railway for their own future use, but according to you they have been playing that card since 1994. It is odd that they say here that the railway was still connected in 1994, so when did WCC give them permission to close the railway access and build the bagging plant on it? Suerly not ffter they had given the planning permission for this new works? That would make no sense at all - can't be that dumb!

So was it RBC who sold the people of Rugby down the river, or was it WCC? Surely the Highways Authority is at WCC, and not at RBC as stated here?

Cheers
Don

Lilian said...

Don
Regarding where this stuff comes from: we never make any false claims and exaggerations as the facts are grim enough and startling enough by themselves. No need to embellish what has gone on here! The data that I publish is all factually correct and is largely taken by photocopying originals from the files at WCC, RBC and the Environment Agency.The above is in the handwriting of Karen Down.

As you point out it is WCC, and not RBC, who stood to gain the money for the Relief Road. They signed a 106 Agreement with Rugby Cement in February 1996 with a clause in that said the (WCC compensation?) money had to be given back by February 2006 IF the Relief Road was not started by then. It has not started! The £500,000 that WCC took from Rugby Cement has been in the bank at Warwick with the interest being paid to Rugby Cement - so it all looks pretty sick now! The half a million quid of yesteryear buys virtually nothing today, and think what devaluation has occurred as a whole to Rugby town by this monstrous development. It has cost Rugby residents many millions in terms of damages to the town as a whole, property devaluation, slump area and deprived communities round the works, and then there are the extra health care costs and disability payments etc. There were various agreements in the 106 that were supposed to have been kept, but WCC/RMC have failed in them.

The problem that you indentify is very serious, and it involves councillors and officers. Which of them is responsible? Is this a fraud case, or merely just a case of gross incompetence? We employed two planning and industrial consultants, at great expense, but WCC refused to answer any of their letters, and questions, and the conclusion is that WCC is hiding something, and that, although we are not accusing them of fraud and the unspeakable "C" word,"Nobody, but nobody, could be THAT stupid for that long!" if you understand what I mean. So ignorance and stupidity apart, what else could have made them act in that way?

There is evidence that certain Councillors acted inappropriately, and some of them are still on the WCC Council, and also on RBC. Many of the officers who were involved in this have "conveniently for them" moved on, including the Chief Executive, but it remains to be seen if they become immune by resigning? RIP are currently taking legal advice, and action.

I am glad some people in Rugby are awake and wanting redress. This is the most gross thing inflicted on any community in the 21st century anywhere. It is plainly unlawful, irresponsible, and unacceptable. Those responsible are scurrying around "like sewer rats" trying to cover their tracks, so Sherlock Holmes has been called in!
Watch this space.

watson said...

Holmes dear fellow, we must not
let sleeping dogs lie!

May I suggest that it may have everything to do with a certain Councillor who when asked in summer 1996: "has the public of Rugby been consulted on these enormous changes in the planning permission?" replied "As far as possible let sleeping dogs lie!"
Struth! Get the houndstooth jacket, and the bloodhounds of Rugby in Plume, and after the quarry! No pile of cement kiln dust shall remain unturned!
Watson