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JOBS AT RISK IN PLAN ROW.

Byline: JOHN SIDDLE

BUS firm Arriva has threatened to put 100 staff out of work if a bid to expand its Bootle depot is rejected by council planning chiefs.

The transport firm says it would not be able to maintain its workforce levels unless it is allowed to make use of land next to its depot on Hawthorne Road.

Arriva is to quit a second depot on the same road in July and wants to create a larger single depot to park its buses.

Campaigners protesting against the move claim more buses would lead to increased pollution and noise.

Phil Stone, the managing director of Arriva North West, said: "In the light of the current economic climate and government cuts, we have applied for this planning permission as part of numerous projects undertaken to reduce our overheads and protect local bus services.

"We would be very disappointed if the planning application were to be refused. It is our duty to convey all the facts to the planning committee and if we were not able to expand our depot on Hawthorne Road it may unfortunately result in jobs and work being moved out of the Sefton area."

The land Arriva wants to acquire was formerly occupied by the Parkside Century Social Club.

The firm says its second depot, at the former Liverline site, is too far from its main depot and the "split site" is too difficult to manage.

Arriva wants to instead secure a 15-year lease for the social club site in order to maintain its operations in the area.

A design and access statement submitted to Sefton council reads: "Once the Liverline site is vacated the existing staffing levels would be transferred to the existing depot.

"It was clearly stated at the pre-application meeting by the managing director of Arriva North West that should the application be rejected then this would result in redundancies of up to 100 people as existing routes would need to be relocated to surrounding Arriva bus depots within the business."

The proposals are being opposed by local residents, who fear pollution problems, parking difficulties and more noise.

Sefton council's planning committee will debate the application at its meeting in Southport on Wednesday.

CAPTION(S):

EXPANSION PLANS: Arriva depot on Hawthorne Road
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2012
Words:377
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