The luxury car manufacturer’s long-term plan for its Crewe headquarters is set for final sign-off at Cheshire East Council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday 9 May.
Bentley Motors is the largest employer in Crewe, with more than 4,000 staff on a site around Pyms Lane and Middlewich Road.
Bentley was granted planning consent in May 2016 for a 500,000 sq ft expansion, delivering an engineering technical centre, design centre, and workshop, to be constructed on an 11-acre site opposite Bentley’s office and warehouse complex.
While the masterplan acknowledges that this project will begin to realise Bentley’s campus vision, the company outlines “a wider plan of expansion and integration”. It proposes the creation of a single site through the closure of two roads, Sunnybank Road and Pyms Lane, which currently cut across the land and split it into three plots.
The masterplan includes proposals to extend the Bentley site north up Middlewich Road, to reach the route of the planned Leighton West Link Road. Most of this is land owned by Cheshire East Council, which the council has said “would be the subject of detailed negotiations going forward”.
The draft masterplan has undergone six weeks of public consultation, which ended on 14 February. The amended development framework and masterplan is being put before the cabinet on Tuesday 9 May.
A report by Frank Jordan, executive director for place at Cheshire East Council, recommends the document be endorsed “subject to concerns raised through the consultation process being considered as part of any future planning application, or other approval, submitted by Bentley Motors”.
Jordan said: “The Bentley development framework and masterplan has been through a comprehensive consultation process, which has highlighted a range of issues, which need to be taken into account by Bentley Motors if the company is to pursue its vison of a campus environment. As a result of the consultation, there have been changes to strengthen the framework.
“More respondents support than object to the vision of a campus and a substantial majority support the growth of Bentley Motors.”
Changes to the plan include clarifying that further planning and highway approvals are required, additional information on traffic issues, a commitment from Bentley that it is working to minimise off-site parking, and recognition of the need for phasing any activity.
Cllr Don Stockton, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Bentley Motors is of tremendous importance to the local, regional and national economies and so it has been important to have an opportunity to hear the opinions of local people and organisations.
“More than 4,000 people are employed directly by Bentley, which also provides many apprenticeship opportunities locally. It is Crewe’s largest single employer, accounting for more than £1bn of UK exports each year – so it is important we get this document right.”
The council’s household waste recycling centre at Pyms Lane is also within the area of land earmarked for development by Bentley in the long-term. However, the council said there are no plans to close the centre and any future change to the facility would have to be consistent with the household waste and recycling requirements of Crewe.
Most of the land identified within the campus vision is owned by the council.
Bentley is advised by How Planning, AHR Architects and WYG.