Go-ahead for Chorley factory expansion

Michael Hunt

Independent town planning practice Steven Abbott Associates LLP has secured planning permission from Chorley Council for the expansion of a food factory on behalf of GA Pet Food Partners.

The approved proposals involve a masterplan for a 66-acre site and 190,000 sq ft of extensions and modernisation, involving the introduction of facilities on a green belt site, near to the villages of Bretherton and Tarleton.

Proposals involve the replacement of the existing production facilities and construction of a new extrusion line, creation of on-site storage, an odour control system, waste-heat recovery system and rainwater recycling facilities, together with plans for improved waste management and disposal.

In addition, a biomass boiler will generate energy locally, which has been fuelled by willow grown on the company's land.

Working closely with the GA Pet Food Partners' management team and the council, Steven Abbott Associates LLP said it carried out a two-year consultation process with local residents to inform them of "the sustainable manufacturing solution" and that it "achieved permission with little opposition".

As well as holding open days, Steven Abbott Associates LLP said 2,500 brochures were sent to residents to explain the company's plans for the site.

Acting on advice from Steven Abbott Associates LLP, an environmental impact assessment was co-ordinated by BCA Landscape of Liverpool, which addressed public concerns.

Roger Bracewell, GA Pet Food Partners' chairman, said: "At every stage, we have developed our investment plans sensitively to consider their impact on the countryside and the local community and kept all stakeholders fully informed. We are also grateful to the support of Chorley Council and to the council members who visited the site."

Steven Abbott, partner at Steven Abbott Associates LLP, added: "We are very pleased at the council's decision to support the proposals and recent news that the Secretary of State has also recognised its importance to the continuing success of the local economy means that progress can now get underway. This is a truly outstanding example of a sustainable agricultural diversification scheme."

Steven Abbott Associates LLP said Royal Haskoning, the company which acquired The Denis Wilson Partnership, environmental and engineering consultancy Entec, Brock Carmichael Architects, and environmental noise consultants, Sharps Redmore, all had an involved input and supported the planning application.

A specialist legal audit was also undertaken throughout by Paul Tucker QC of Kings Chambers in Manchester.

Steven Abbott Associates LLP added that GA Pet Food Partners, which has an annual turnover in excess of £50m and a 120-strong local workforce, has also worked closely with the Environment Agency throughout to resolve environmental permit issues.

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