DELAYS in a row over the re-siting of power cables at Runcorn’s Heath Business and Technical Park are costing up to 300 new jobs, it was claimed.
But park owner SOG hopes the issue, which dates back six years, can be resolved swiftly once Parliament’s summer recess ends in September.
SOG wants to sell 10 acres of parkland to create an executive housing development and invest the proceeds, up to £10m, in expanding the park.
Heath managing director John Lewis says this will create 300 jobs.
But they need to move two power lines carried by pylons which date back to the 1930s before a sale can proceed.
Talks over their relocation have been ongoing with electricity company Scottish Power Manweb for six years and two years ago SOG took the matter up with the Secretary of State due to lack of progress.
A hearing was held earlier this year when Manweb revealed, only three days before, that one of the lines has not carried electricity for almost 60 years.
SOG had paid for an expert report on how the lines could be relocated and said if it knew one line was not in use it would have reduced costs for the report, and relocation, considerably.
Mr Lewis said: “Manweb have not acted in a manner you would expect from a blue chip organisation. They held back information that would stifle our opportunity for a solution. How the hell can you run a business in this country? I find it appalling.
“It is impossible to challenge these blue chip companies because they delay and delay and people run out of money and give up.”
He said SOG has been approached by housing developers, but is unable to proceed until the matter is resolved: “We’re in limbo. We have a 10-acre site that we and the local authority are keen to develop as housing.”
The Heath is home to more than 150 firms and has about 1,700 workers on site and Mr Lewis said any expansion would lead to at least 300 more jobs.
Delays at the earlier hearing could mean Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, may not decide on the matter until next March.
But after Halton MP Derek Twigg intervened Mr Lewis hopes for a swift conclusion: “I am hoping Derek will pick up the baton again when they come back and give us an opportunity to bring it to a conclusion, one way or another.”
A Manweb spokesman said: “SP Manweb has acted, and continues to act, appropriately.”