Progress reported on plans for £390 million glass-making plant in Ebbw Vale
Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter
Plans for a £390 million glass-making plant in Ebbw Vale, which could create hundreds of jobs for the area, are expected to be lodged with Blaenau Gwent planners next month.
Concerns were raised about the lack of visible progress with building the CiNER factory at the Rassau Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Ebbw Vale at a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee today (5 September).
In June last year Turkish firm CiNER Glass Ltd was given planning permission to build a factory making glass containers on the industrial estate.
At the time it was expected that the project would create around 600 highly skilled jobs at the site, with up to 500 more jobs created during the building process.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Deputy Independent group leader Cllr Wayne Hodgins said: “I’d like a crystal clear update on CiNER, from officers or the company.
“I don’t want history repeating.
“We had a similar scenario with the Circuit of Wales, we had a lot of promises and aspiration building in the community for these jobs that unfortunately never materialised.
“Officers and councillors have worked tirelessly across the political divide to encourage these people to set up, but it doesn’t seem to be happening at present.
“Some message needs to come out to reassure the community or if it’s going to be bad news, we can focus time and efforts on looking for alternative.”
Development and estates service manager, Steve Smith said: “Things have gone quiet on the CiNER front for a number of reasons, but it’s not bad news, it’s good news.”
He explained that the company had already started work on “ecology mitigations at the site” and are working on “detailed designs phases” for the factory complex.
Mr Smith said: “That will result in new planning application coming in next month for a slightly revised scheme.
“The process and job creation in the same but the footprint and size of the buildings are likely to shrink a little bit.
“Hopefully it will be an easy decision for the council to take, given that we have already approved a much larger scheme.”
Cllr Hodgins said: “People are asking questions, we need to build that confidence that it will happen.”
Councillors at the meeting were also urged to check out CiNER’S social media pages.
The company has published a post which suggests that future recruits in Ebbw Vale will be trained up at their flagship facility at Park Cam in Turkey.
On its LinkedIn page, CiNER said: “Our plans to build a glass bottling facility in the town will bring around 600 permanent jobs to the area once the facility is up and running, notwithstanding the potential of the project to act as a catalyst for broader economic growth.
“We plan for many members of our manufacturing teams to be trained at our Park Cam factory prior to them working at the new plant in Wales, giving them a unique and hands-on training experience.
“As we develop our plans for South Wales, we are committed to investing in our staff, creating educational and development opportunities for both current and future generations, ensuring a sustainable skills future where no-one is left behind.”
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