SGP is the architect and Spawforths is the planning consultant for Six56. Credit: via Merrion Strategy

Govt pauses £180m Warrington industrial project

The secretary of state is rethinking the decision not to call in the outline application for Six56, a 3.1m sq ft industrial scheme from Langtree and Panattoni.

The project would sit on Green Belt off Junction 20 of the M6. It was approved by Warrington Council in March.

In May, the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities sent a letter stating that secretary of state Michael Gove would not use his power to call in the application.

“The government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues,” the letter read, adding that the department “believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible”.

But a new letter received by the council from the department appears to show that Gove has changed his mind. This letter directs the council to not approve the application so that the secretary can reconsider if he wishes to call it in.

John Downes, group chief executive of Langtree, said his company would continue to pursue the project.

“Six56 is a sound proposition based on evidence of demand and location within the borough and we remain totally committed to the scheme,” Downes said.

He continued: “It represents an excellent opportunity to help meet the government’s levelling-up agenda as well as allowing us to engage with Warrington’s local supply chain to multiply the value of our investment. We will now take advice and keenly await further guidance from the Secretary of State.”

Your Comments

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Excellent decision from DLUHC for once. How the Council can rush to approve a major development in the Green Belt before their Local Plan has been through it’s EIP amazes me.

By Regen Queen

Sense prevails! Well done DLUHC

By Warrington Resident

Think everyone was amazed when this one slipped through. Great decision from Dept Levelling up!

By Anonymous

The timing of Mr Gove MP’s ‘reconsideration’ and Mr Carter MP’s support for the PM in the confidence vote is entirely coincidental I am sure. Nonetheless, the Council’s decision must surely be called in because, as mentioned, it borders on the bizarre in planning terms. When the Council’s relationship with the principal applicant is taken into account, it starts to make more sense. Perhaps this could be the subject of a separate inquiry while Mr Gove is at it?

By March Frog

Staggered at Gove’s ‘U turn’ decision to reserve judgement. Makes a mockery of the levelling up agenda.

By Grumpy Old Git

The massive developments around Burtonwood are already adding a lot of lorry journeys at this section of the M62, and though on an old airfield it was to all intents and purposes greenfield, so a further loss of greenbelt would not look good. For me the developers should look to sites in nearby St Helens which border the motorway as there`s plenty of old industrial land there.

By Anonymous

If I have understood this correctly, Warrington has to demonstrate a supply of developable land for employment uses. This land has been allocated for such in the emerging Local Plan, which has doubtless gone through oodles of public consultation and democratic scrutiny. Some people don’t like the outcome of that process, but they are in a political minority.

Without revisiting the Local Plan (heaven forbid!) if not here, then where? And is it the job of the plan to determine the specific types of jobs created, or is that at the mercy of retired middle class folk who look down their noses at blue collar employment?

By Anonymous

Levelling up should still be about building in the right locations, not just grabbing any old opportunity with two hands. This scheme in rural Warrington in an area with massive planned residential growth was never ever going to be sustainable.

By The opinioned

how silly, this should be built, we need jobs and investment- it’s staggering how much power these politicians have, that a whim they. An change their minds on millions of pounds investment- we need to keep politics out of this

By Stuart wood

In relation to comment above, an allocation in an ’emerging plan’ is not an adopted policy… especially where the proposal is heavily contested. I agree with comment above, why not wait until outcome of EiP before deciding fate of protected green belt. To make clear this is NOT an allocated employment site.

By The opinioned

@The opinioned – Ah, ‘the right locations’. Meaning ‘not near me. Near that fella three miles away’.

If ‘levelling up’ is to mean anything it has to be support developments of a scale and quality that can deliver a step-change in employment and economic performance for the north. The government seem at odds with their own policy here.

By Anonymous

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