An cement import business in Brightlingsea has applied for planning permission to retain a storage building on Oliver’s Wharf on the town’s shipyard estate.
Essex Cement Ltd says it needs the 42m long steel-framed building, which is covered with weatherproof sheeting, to protect bags of cement which come in by ship from Portugal two or three times a month.
In its application to Tendring District Council, the company says that changes to import rules after Brexit mean that the cement now has to be stored for inspection by HMRC– previously it was moved directly from ship to lorry. Though the cement arrives in sealed 1.5 tonne bags, with a boat load worth around £250,000, it can be damaged by exposure to rain or sunlight.
The company says the the semi-permanent nature of the building, which has no electrical supply, means it is not at risk should the wharf flood. Currently the company says it imports around 65,000 tonnes of cement annually, supplying 61 businesses including several local cement and aggregates suppliers.