A VILLAGE community has condemned plans to increase the storage capacity for hazardous substances at an industrial complex on the banks of the Mersey.

Almost 120 people living in Eastham have opposed plans by NuStar Terminals to increase storage of gasoline from 17,000 tonnes to 24,064 tonnes at their plant in Bankfields Drive.

There was a safety issue at the plant in March when an alarm sounded for two hours in the early hours of the morning, creating concern among local residents.

The company confirmed that there was a malfunction and that they had followed emergency plans drawn up by Merseyside Fore and Rescue Service.

Planners indicated in a report to Wednesday night's meeting of the Wirral planning committee that the "vast number" of objections to the proposal to increase capacity at the plant had been received shortly after the incident involving the alarm.

Residents objected to the "significant" increase in storage and its close proximity to houses.

Surrounding land is given over to predominantly industrial uses to the east and open land and residential development to the west.

The company confirmed that the proposed increaes was less than previously allowed in the 1990s and that no further housing development had been built closer to the terminal since.

Following a risk assessment study by the Health and Safety Executive they found there were no significant reasons on safety grounds for refusing hazardous substances consent.

The application site is an established chemical storage facility, located adjacent to the Mersey estuary.

The site offers storage to other parties rather than storing for on-site processes.

Planners have recommended that the application should be approved when Wirral planning committee meets on Wednesday.