Eddie Stobart Appleton

Stobart presses on with Appleton green belt plans

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.

Your Comments

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Hundreds of low paying jobs and very little in terms of an economic trickle down effect cannot constitute VSC. Notwithstanding, the highways situation will be intolerable for us locals. Go and expand elsewhere Eddie!

By Disgruntled Warringtonian

Comments on here about “low paid jobs” and “take your business else where” are just stupid. Local area need employment of all salaries and type!
There maybe Lowe paid jobs but there will others who are paid more, helping the local economy grow and give wages and tax revenue for the council!

A very narrow minded and dangerous attitude

By Anonymous

Comments on here about “low paid jobs” and “take your business else where” are just stupid.
Local areas need employment of all salaries and type!
There maybe Lower paid jobs, but there will be others who are paid more, helping the local economy grow and give wages and tax revenue for the council!
Also extra money for local infrastructure that benefits everyone
A very narrow minded and dangerous attitude

By Anonymous

Stobart’s is a poor company to work for with very poor wages. They are always advertising as very few people want to stay with them long term due to poor work conditions. As with their other large depots, it will mostly encourage foreign transient nationals to flood the area, until they’ve woken up and realise they’re better paid and looked after else where!

I would never trust Stobart with anything!

By Julie Rundell

The Traffic situation around that area is already saturated. Ask anyone who has travelled up the M6 for hours in the roadworks then has to try & get off at Junction 20 and negotiate going towards Stretton or Grapenhall then town. Bar M25 this must be most congested Junction already. This would just add to the misery ….

By DGO

There are very special circumstances not to allow this development on current greenbelt land. The existing M6/ M56 junction is unable to cope with the current traffic levels, particularly at peak commuter times, and during any roadworks/ accidents/ high winds affecting the Thelwall Viaduct. More warehouses at this location will force further traffic congestion through Warrington across the low level swing bridges and bridge foot. Why not develop existing vacant industrial land around Salford stadium?

By Peter

@anonymous – I beg to differ.

To think that hundreds of low paying employment opportunities, a handful of slightly better paying jobs (admin people, etc) and their associated ‘benefits’ constitutes VSC for development in the Green Belt is ridiculous.

There are plenty of warehouse / distribution type job opportunities at Omega and across the rest of the Borough in non-Green Belt locations – Amazon, Asda, the list goes on…. Whilst I accept that a job is a job, these types of job opportunities are nothing new and regardless of the numbers proposed by Eddie Stobart, they should not be regarded as ‘very special’ to the point where they and their ‘benefits’ demonstrably outweigh the harm to the Green Belt. Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

A proposal comprising a high-tech science park with hundreds of R&D type job opportunities, for which a local need exists, would more likely constitute VSC – not a flipping B8 class box which could, as some point in the future, be occupied by any old warehouse / distribution operator!

Having recommended the initial proposals for approval, the planners at Warrington should be taking a long hard look at themselves. Selling our town to this kind of development will only set a precedent for more B8 boxes in the Green Belt – we deserve better!

If only our planners were actually from Warrington and not agency staff working for other firms based in different parts of the Country…… That’s another story…..

By Disgruntled Warringtonian

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