Eddie Stobart Logistics will hold a public consultation as it looks to resubmit planning for its National Distribution Centre on green belt land near Warrington, which was refused by the council last November.
The logistics company has signalled it will submit a fresh planning application for the site off the M56, with a public consultation due to be held next week, after its previous application was knocked back late last year.
Designed by architect RGP and supported by planner GVA How, now Avison Young, the previous application was to add to Eddie Stobart’s existing facilities just off Junction 9, which currently covers 145,000 sq ft of logistics space. The proposals, developed alongside Liberty Properties, were for a warehouse of around 600,000 sq ft along with circa 30,000 sq ft of office and ancillary space.
Despite being recommended for approval by Warrington Council’s planning officers, the council’s planning committee saw differently, with councillors refusing the proposals based on the site’s green belt status.
At the committee, Cllr Sharon Harris, one of the scheme’s primary objectors, argued releasing the land from the green belt ahead of Warrington’s refreshed Local Plan would be “premature and wholly inappropriate”, while also accusing Stobart of “a clear lack of concern for the community” by not holding pre-application discussions with Appleton Parish Council and the Appleton Thorn Residents Group.
Following the refusal, Stobart’s chief executive officer Alex Laffey said the business could “look elsewhere” to expand as a result of the decision; however, the company has now decided to try again with an updated application.
Stobart said it had “spent considerable time looking again at the scheme” ahead of consultation, and reiterated the project’s job-creation and its boost to the local economy; according to the company, the new distribution centre would create over 700 jobs in the local economy and generate a £6m investment to improve local roads and transport.
An Eddie Stobart spokesperson said “Several observations were made about the previous application. We have taken account of these and spent considerable time looking again at the scheme. We are now confident that the application will fully detail the advantages to Warrington and the significant very special circumstances to support the development. We therefore propose to resubmit the application to the council.”
The exhibition will be held on Wednesday 27 February 2019, between 4pm and 7pm in the main reception area, Eddie Stobart, Stretton Green Distribution Park, Langford Way, Appleton Thorn.
Following the public consultation, an updated planning application is likely to be submitted early this year.