John Davies warehouse

Chester business wins Green Belt warehouse consent

David McCourt

Family business John Davies & Co looks set to expand after gaining outline planning consent from Cheshire West & Chester council for a new warehouse.

The company had previously been turned down because its Ince Lane site lies within the Cheshire Green Belt.

Now the company, which specialises in complete logistics solutions for fast-moving food and consumer products, has been granted outline permission for an additional warehouse as well as a welfare block and parking area thanks to a change in planning regulations.

Chester-based architects Cassidy + Ashton got the scheme through under new rules, which allow development within the Green Belt providing certain conditions are met.

The changes permit partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites on brownfield land providing this does not have an impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

Guy Evans, associate planner at Cassidy + Ashton, said: "The new policies were only introduced in March last year, so there is a limited amount of evidence to show how they are applied in practice. It's understandable then that councils are still being cautious in their decisions, especially when the application relates to a commercial development within the Green Belt."

The £1m project includes new warehousing, which will allow John Davies & Co to expand its storage and distribution business.

The site currently accommodates a variety of poor quality buildings and a residential unit, all of which will be demolished. This, together with the reorganisation of existing storage units, will make room for the planned construction.

Matthew Davies, operations manager at John Davies & Co, said: "Our aim was to have a building which would enhance our operational capabilities. However, it was always critical to us that the new building would not be detrimental to the local area and environment.

"It will be crucial to the success of our family business and if full planning permission is granted it will secure and create new employment in the local area."

A decision on the full planning application is expected in July.

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