A WIDNES drainage firm fears a dispute with Halton Council may drive it out of business.

John Wall Drainage Ltd has been told they must dismantle the recently-built palisade fence at their site on Page Lane, installed on the advice of police after two break-ins in a fortnight last year, as they do not have planning permission and one side of the fence borders a residential property.

Managing director John Wall said: “A fence like this one is the only way we can keep the thieves out.

“Last time they got in, the catalytic converters were taken from the vans. We had to pay to replace them and lost trade while the vehicles were off the road.”

The company has been based at the site for 24 years and employs 10 people.

Mr Wall added: “We’re committed to staying here, but taking down the fence could spell the end of us.

“The insurance won’t cover another break-in. Our only options would be closing or relocating. Either way, jobs would go and the community would lose out.

“We’ve offered to make it look more presentable on the side that borders the houses but the council won’t budge.

“I don’t understand, I thought it was the job of a local council to keep crime down and help business.”

A Halton Council spokesman said: “The company should have gone through the planning process. This option is still open to it.”

Director John Wall beside his fence Picture: Mike Boden MBW051112