Union in call for saw mill plans

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TRADE union bosses are urging Doncaster Council to back controversial plans which they believe will safeguard jobs at a borough factory.

Officials from the union Unite have written to the authority ahead of a planning committee meeting which is expected to decide whether Askern Saw Mills can go ahead with the plans which are part of a scheme to rebuild and expand its factory.

Councillors are being asked to give planning permission to an element of the scheme which would include the construction of 220 new houses.

A decision on the scheme is due to be made next Tuesday.

But it has sparked opposition, with two petitions against the proposals having been sent to the council.

One petition - containing 10 signatures - raises concerns over loss of open space and damage to local wildlife

A second petition, with holds 138 signatures, objects to the principle of the development.

However, councillors at next week’s meeting will also be told of 318 letters in support of the plans, including the message from Unite.

Those backing the moves says the sawmills will become a more efficient premise, allowing the company to grow and safeguard existing jobs and open the way for new jobs to be created.

The proposals will also tidy up an existing eyesore.

A report which will go before the council states: “A letter of support has also been received from Unite the Union, which has been written on behalf of its members who work in the Askern Sawmills.

“The proposal will ensure the Sawmills become a more efficient premises and will allow the company to grow and safeguard existing jobs.

“It will also create new job opportunities.”

The scheme also contains details about the development of commercial land on the site at Askern High Street.

Askern Property Trading Partnership, who submitted the plan, predict it will create around 650 jobs if it goes ahead. The organisation has previously stated it estimates the site will bring 16 jobs from retail uses; 66 jobs from restaurant and drinking establishments; and 605 jobs from employment uses, including 56 staff currently working for Askern Saw Mills whose work will be relocated on the site. The figure does not include construction jobs which would also be involved in the scheme.