Workmen spotted clearing former Molins site without council approval

Workmen appear to be clearing a former tobacco machine factory site without the council knowing.

By Rory Butler
Monday, 6th June 2022, 3:34 pm
the approach to the Saunderton site
the approach to the Saunderton site

Bucks Council said it is “not aware of any development” at the former Molins Tobacco Machinery site on Haw Lane in Saunderton – despite workmen being photographed there on Wednesday (June 1).

It is understood the workforce has been there for several days this week.

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Diggers, trucks and men in hi-vis jackets were seen working the site surrounded by construction fencing, although it is not known who employs them and why.

If any breaches of planning are reported, the council’s Enforcement Team will investigate, it said.

This is not the first time machines have been on site clearing the area.

In December last year workmen for TMT Construction were seen on site with grabbers and trucks.

At the time, UK investment business Greystoke (and ERLP) submitted an outline planning application for part of the site, with designs to demolish and clear the existing industrial buildings (2,245 sqm) for a residential redevelopment of up to nine new houses.

That same application was withdrawn in February.

The site of the former cigarette making machine manufacturer has lay in ruin for years.

Most of the industrial buildings were removed as part of planning consent for a 78,000 sqm data centre, which was never built.

A planning application for the demolition of all remaining buildings and construction of 212 properties was unsuccessful in 2015. A subsequent appeal was dismissed in 2017.

In 2020, developer St. Congar also revealed it had planned to bring an application for 130 homes.

“The council are not aware of any development being undertaken at the Molins factory site,” a council spokesman said. “If any potential breaches of planning control are reported to the council, the Planning Compliance and Enforcement Team will investigate.”

Greystoke was approached for comment.