More than 2m sq ft of industrial and warehousing space is set for the green light next week, with the discount retailer in line to occupy a 800,000 sq ft-plus warehouse.
St Helens’ planning committee will be asked on Tuesday to determine a hybrid application from Omega St Helens and TJ Morris, owner of the Home Bargains brand.
Approval is recommended, although given the site’s scale and the destiny of similar-sized projects in the region this year, a call-in by the Secretary of State seems likely.
The site is in essence an extension of the Omega industrial park beyond its main boundaries on the Warrington side of the border. The site concerned is 185 acres and is bound by Omega South to the east and the M62 to the north, and it would be accessed through the existing Omega park, which has direct access to junction 8 of the motorway.
The venture is seeking full consent for Unit 1, a warehouse of 829,725 sq ft with 48,000 sq ft of ancillary office space in a three-storey structure – this would all be occupied by Home Bargains. There is also an area of ‘expansion land’ within this part of the site, which is included in the outline consent application.
This outline consent seeks permission for manufacturing and logistics space in the southern part of the site, with an indicative layout suggesting up to three buildings comprising a total of 1.3m sq ft
A new roundabout would be built at the access to the application site, while a pedestrian and cycle route would run through the centre of the application site towards Booth’s Wood, while Unit 1 would have 576 parking spaces.
The site is green belt, and the applicant accepts that its proposal could be viewed as inappropriate. However, it calls on the St Helens Green Belt Review of December 2018, which assessed the relative contribution of different parts of the Green Belt to the borough, and sad that it would make sense to remove that status from at least part of this site.
The applicant also points out the parlous state of industrial supply in the region, which is continuing to enjoy high levels of take-up at a time when various developments have been called in by the Secretary of State, including St Helens’ own Parkside, Wigan’s Symmetry Park and Harworth’s Wingates proposal.
Warrington Council has considered the proposal as a consultee. The plans have drawn some criticism from parish councils, with Great Sankey and Rainhill filing objections, while 118 representations have been made. Consent for the wider scheme is contingent on 30% of the development being classed as B2 and 70% as B8.
The professional team includes Progress Planning Consultancy, AJA Architects and landscape designer Place On Earth.