Cerberus Cosmetics proposed factory, Cerberus Cosmetics, c Google Earth

Cerberus Cosmetics wanted to build a factory and office building on this Ormskirk plot, which is designated as Green Belt. Credit: Google Earth

Cosmetics factory refused again in West Lancs

Ignoring pleas for more time to address planning officer concerns, West Lancashire Council has rejected Cerberus Cosmetics’ application to build a 13,800 sq ft facility on Green Belt in Ormskirk.

The decision was made at Thursday’s planning committee meeting, in line with officer recommendation. The justification was over the factory’s proposed Green Belt location.  This was the second time the council has turned down the proposal for that reason – the first was in 2020.

Cerberus, alongside planning consultant PWA Planning, had appealed that original rejection, taking the application to the Planning Inspectorate. However, the Planning Inspectorate sided with the council against the family-owned business, noting that more information regarding the exploration of alternative site options was needed.

In submitting a new, nearly identical application, Cerberus had included an updated sequential test. However, the council’s planning officer found the test to be lacking in providing sufficient evidence to justify the harm to the Green Belt.

In a report, the officer wrote: “Although I appreciate a further search has been conducted, I remain unconvinced the proposed development is the only viable option as the search criteria is still in my view, relatively limited.”

Upon the publication of the officer report, Cerberus had written a letter to the council, asking for a decision to be deferred until January to give it more time to satisfy those concerns.

PWA Planning also submitted an email, noting that it had not received prior notice that there were any concerns with the information in the application.

“This isn’t a plea for special treatment; it’s a plea for fairness and collaboration,” the email read. “I therefore urge you to please reconsider your position, agree to defer to a later meeting of the Committee and provide the applicant an opportunity to convince and explain. The type of information that is needed isn’t something that can simply be prepared in a few days.”

The letter left the council’s planning department unmoved, with the officer noting that the recommendation for refusal remained.

If Cerberus had been successful, its cosmetics facility would have been located on a field southwest of Vicarage Barn on Southport Road. Its ground floor was to hold manufacturing and storage space, while the first floor would have been a laboratory and offices.

You can learn more about the application by searching 2023/0471FUL on West Lancashire Council’s planning portal.

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