Cheshire East’s strategic planning board has been recommended to approve proposals by Bentley for the first phase of its Crewe headquarters masterplan, including the construction of nearly 390,000 sq ft of manufacturing space, when it meets next week.
Bentley’s outline application, designed by AHR Architects with How as planner, is for two production and manufacturing facilities of 260,000 sq ft and 81,000 sq ft, alongside a 48,000 sq ft engine test bed.
The manufacturing facilities are planned for a site currently used as a staff car park, and will be linked to the car manufacturer’s existing production facility.
Car parking facilities will be transferred to two separate plots near the site’s showroom. These will cover 72,000 sq ft and 60,000 sq ft respectively, and provide parking for approximately 500 cars.
The engine test bed will be built next to the company’s design centre, workshop, and technical centre, which are all awaiting planning consent. An application for the 500,000 sq ft expansion was approved in May 2016.
As part of the application, Bentley has also submitted a full planning application for new security gates along Sunnybank Road and Pyms Lane. These roads, formerly open to the public, will be closed as part of the plans to create a single site, as they currently split the campus into three separate plots.
Alongside AHR and How, the professional team on the project also includes Crestwood, Ramboll, and WYG.
Recommending the hybrid application for approval, Cheshire East planners said: “The proposal would bring economic benefits and investment in an area with a longstanding association with the manufacture of motor vehicles.
“Bentley Motors are a major employer located within one of the principal growth areas of the borough, where national [and] local plan policies strongly support such development”.
Planners added that although the proposals would lead to the closure of the two roads, this would have to be balanced against the economic benefits of the scheme.
The proposals are recommended for approval subject to a Section 106 agreement, and will be discussed on 28 February.
Bentley’s proposals form part of its wider masterplan for the site, which will extend up Middlewich Road to reach the route of the planned Leighton West Link Road.
The masterplan was signed off by the council in May last year, allowing it to bring forward more detailed proposals for the manufacturing facilities.
Bentley is currently the largest employer in Crewe with 4,000 staff working at the site.