Henry Boot Barnfield’s proposals for an Aldi food store, a pub, and nearly 85,000 sq ft of employment space off Junction 6 of the M62 are set to go before Knowsley Council’s planning committee today with a recommendation to approve.
The hybrid planning application, first lodged with the council in June last year, features full consent for a 19,400 sq ft Aldi food store, alongside five smaller industrial units totalling 12,500 sq ft, as well as highways works and electricity substations.
The outline part of the application features the bulk of the site’s industrial use, including up to 65,000 sq ft of industrial and employment space. It also includes a pub/restaurant of up to 11,000 sq ft as well as a petrol station and further landscaping.
Dubbed Beacon 62, the project has been designed by architect Fletcher Rae.
Planning permission was granted for a mixed-use scheme at the site in 2011 but expired in 2016. Henry Boot Barnfield, a joint venture between developers and contractors Barnfield and Henry Boot, acquired the site from RBS West Register Property Investments in 2015.
The developer had set out a viability assessment to the council to argue that developing the site purely for employment use would not provide an adequate return.
An assessment showed that developing the site purely for industrial use would result in a loss of 6% by the developer; while providing solely a pre-let food store alongside industrial units would lead to a profit of 7.3%.
Henry Boot Barnfield said it expected to make a profit on cost of 16% under the existing planning application.
The application has broadly been supported by local residents with 35 representations in favour and only seven against.
Recommending the project for approval, planning officers said the viability assessment had been “rigorously scrutinised”, and added: “The development will result in the active use of a vacant and unused parcel of land for a mixture of employment, retail and commercial uses.
“The inclusion of the retail and other commercial uses lessens the risks for the applicant because a reasonable return from the development can be achieved meaning that the development would be likely to go ahead.”
Knowsley Council’s planning committee is due to meet at 6pm tonight. The professional team on the project includes structural engineer Scott Hughes Design; project manager Zerum; landscape architect Nurture Design; and NJL Consulting as planner.