The scheme is aimed at reducing Budweiser's carbon emissions. Credit: Heshan Perera via Unsplash

Budweiser’s Samlesbury expansion up for approval  

The brewer hopes to expand its Lancashire site by building a 28,000 sq ft warehouse extension and 73,000 sq ft of hardstanding for 80 distribution trucks, as part of a wider investment by its parent AB InBev.

Belgian-headquartered drinks maker Anheuser-Busch InBev is ploughing £117m into expanding Budweiser’s two main UK factories – in Salmesbury and Magor, South Wales – to increase brewing capacity by two million hectolitres, the equivalent of 630 million points of beer.

As part of the strategy, the company seeks permission to extend Budweiser’s 5.5-acre facility on the northern side of Cuerdale Lane in Samlesbury. An application, recommended for approval by South Ribble Council’s planning committee on 29 April, requests consent to erect a tented storage and distribution warehouse spanning 28,000 sq ft on the side of an existing warehouse used for keg storage.

The application also proposes the construction of a large area of hardstanding to provide 70 HGV trailer spaces and 20 HGV cab spaces for loading and unloading, the widening an existing internal site road and yard areas, and other associated works.

The Samlesbury brewery is bounded on all sides by open land and woodland and accessed off Cuerdale Lane via a central gatehouse. The application refers to an area on the western side of the site that is partly in operational use and partly woodland, as well as an area of woodland to the north. Part of the site is designated as Green Belt in the current South Ribble Local Plan.

A report to the council’s planning committee notes that only a small area of the site in question – the eastern woodland facing Cuerdale Lane – sits outside of the brewery’s original employment allocation. Still, AB InBev’s plans would require the removal of 78,000 sq ft of woodland.

Any planning decision “must balance the harm caused by the proposed development to the natural environment and Green Belt openness against the economic, environmental, employment and commercial benefits gained from the long-term protection of an established site”.

On balance, the application is considered compliant with Lancashire and South Ribble’s local plans as well as national planning policy, and is therefore recommended for approval with conditions attached, the report concludes.

Budweiser has been brewing its products, which include Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona and Bud Light, in Samlesbury since 1972 and employs around 500 staff at the Lancashire factory.

AB InBev has been contacted for comment.

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