Cheshire East has knocked back Manchester Airport Group’s 800-space car park on Green Belt land near Styal with its planning committee asking the airport to show it has a “plan B” before it can be approved.
The 318,000 sq ft site is within the Green Belt and works would include the demolition of 48 and 52 Moss Lane to create an 800-space expansion to the airport’s parking provision.
With the airport becoming increasingly congested, planning officers had given the scheme a recommendation to approve, due to its impact on the reduction in drop-offs and taxi journeys to the airport, the current limitations of public transport, the lack of capacity in existing car parking facilities over summer, and the reduction of third-party off-site car parking.
There would also be green landscaping, a footpath, and ecological mitigation measures to minimise the impact on the Green Belt.
Despite the site being within the Green Belt, it does also fall within an Airport Operational Zone, a designation it has had since 1995, and was described at committee as “the last piece of the jigsaw” to be completed, meaning airport-related development would be unlikely to spread beyond this point.
However, committee members were not swayed by the recommendation from planners or by Andrew Murray, planning manager at Manchester Airport, who spoke at yesterday’s meeting.
In a motion put forward by Cllr Andrew Gregory and seconded by Cllr Paul Findlow, councillors said a decision should be delayed given members were “not satisfied it was the only alternative” and called for the airport “to come back and give the committee more information” on its “plan B” for other car parking site.
Nine councillors voted to defer the application with one voting against and one abstention; a date to discuss the proposal again has not yet been set.