WORKINGTON businessmen are fighting a county council decision to approve plans for a nuclear decontamination site at Lillyhall.

Studsvik UK was given permission to build the controversial site, which will treat low-level radioactive metal, by the county last Friday.

But local businesses claim the decision was flawed and want it set aside.

Packaging firm Iggesund Paperboard, based in Siddick, said its objections were not properly represented at the meeting.

In a letter to the council, Alan Brown, contracts and supply manager at Iggesund, said: “Our letter of objection was not available to members nor had the essential content of the letter been embodied in the briefing report on which the council based its decision.

“We were not informed of the place and date of the meeting nor given the opportunity to represent ourselves in person.”

He said that the company only found out about it by chance and had little opportunity to prepare.

The chairman of the meeting, Geoff Prest, said the decision was finely balanced and the vote was very close.

Local businessman Keith Thomas, of Motor Engineers Ltd in Workington, spoke out against the plans at the meeting and has since written to Allerdale council to complain about the decision.

He said that Iggesund’s objection would have carried a “tremendous weight of opinion in deciding this matter.”

Alan Dawson, of Alan Dawson Associates on Joseph Noble Road, said the approval “flies in the face of Allerdale council, which refused permission for the plant.”

He added: “I really don’t think it’s a good idea to turn Lillyhall into a radioactively contaminated scrapyard.”

Many local people, as well as Dean and Distington local parish councils, have campaigned against the plant because, they say, it would have an adverse effect on the area, pose a health risk, damage the local tourist industry and create traffic problems.

A county council spokesman said: “Iggesund has written to us complaining about the procedure followed in reaching the decision. We will be responding in detail to them in the next few days.

“Members of the committee were fully aware of the concerns raised about the application. These concerns were debated at length before a decision was reached.”

The plans have caused the bosses of West Lakes Dairy Park, who wanted to build a cheese factory at Lillyhall, to pull out. The move means the loss of 100 potential jobs.

More than 60 people turned up at Lillyhall to protest in June when county councillors visited the site.

Studsvik was not available to comment this week.