AN innovative project which would see the former ICI lime beds ‘cleaned up’ has been put to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

A planning application submitted by Cheshire Land Ltd proposes the recycling of material on the lime beds east of the Lostock works for use in construction.

The plans detail the process on an initial two-bed, 40-acre site, owned by Cheshire Land, but the long-term aim of the project is to restore 160 acres of waste industrial land.

Managing director John Woods said: “Our initial plan is quite modest and only involves excavating black-ash from the lime-bed bunds to create clinker blocks for the building industry.

“The block-making activity will be low impact and will result in no more than ten vehicles arriving and exiting the site each day.”

If successful, the company aims to submit another application later in the year for a small on-site cement works that would retrieve and recycle the dried-out lime.

They say there is a national shortage of housebuilding due in part to a shortage of materials, and that the ‘harsh industrial’ landscape would benefit from ‘sensitive restoration’.

John added: “The beauty of our plan is that is technically and commercially sustainable. We have thoroughly surveyed and tested the site and we know the physical and chemical composition of what’s there.

“The black-ash and lime on site are now valuable commodities in the construction sector with identifiable market demand.

“Until now there hasn’t really been a long-term plan for the site, but what we once saw as a problem now looks like an opportunity.

“It would be fairly unique to be able to reclaim such a large waste treatment site without requiring substantial public money.

“Depending on the scale and intensity of the remediation process, the whole site could be completely cleared in between seven and 20 years.”

The plans will now be subject to consultation, with Cheshire Land presenting the scheme to both Lostock Gralam and Rudheath parish councils in the coming weeks.

A planning statement said: “The lime beds contain waste lime material, the bulk of which was calcium carbonate with some calcium sulphate and calcium chloride, which was historically deposited as a liquor and left to settle.”