Plans for a major housing scheme at the former Cadbury factory in Moreton are poised to collapse.
Burton Foods sought permission to build more than 230 new homes at the former complex in Pasture Road which later became Premier Brands UK.
Their existing chocolate refinery on the site remains a successful business and would be retained.
Local authority planners however claim the proposed development would mean the loss of manufacturing and industrial land, which would be of significant harm to a part of Wirral with "challenging social-economic conditions."
Recommending the scheme’s refusal planners state: “While the applicant has sought to demonstrate that there is no interest in the site for employment development, the evidence submitted is insufficiently robust to support the site’s loss to housing.
They add: “The applicant has also contended that jobs can be created through the development and an ensuing demand for services.
"However it is considered that any economic benefits that may accrue from the proposed development would not outweigh the loss of the whole site for employment purposes.”
Burtons argued that along with family housing, the scheme could also create new jobs by providing infrastructure to generate investment in the site, encouraging development of small- to medium-sized business units.
The company said the proposals represented a "substantial level of direct investment" into the site and would boost economic benefits for Moreton and the surrounding area.
The development proposes demolition of all existing manufacturing buildings equating to a total floor area of almost 42,000 square metres.
Among the objections in a community consultation exercise were concerns that the new homes would be built in a high flood risk area and that existing flood defences were insufficient for the changes proposed.
The Environment Agency said planning permission for the development would be conditionally acceptable from a flood risk perspective subject to tests being carried out.
The site was originally developed for the production of confectionary by Cadbury’s in the early 1950s. Expansion of the original buildings and production was extended through the 1950s, 60s and 70s and employed 4,000 staff at the peak of operations.
During the 1980s the business was bought in a management buy-out and became Premier Brands UK Ltd.
From 2007 onwards buildings and operations within the site began to close and operations contracted.
Wirral planning authority will have the final say on the applications when it meets on May 7.
The plans were first revealed in November last year. To read our story, click here.