The company’s controversial plans to build a 630,000 sq ft national distribution centre on Green Belt land in Appleton Thorn have been given consent at the second time of asking.
Warrington Council’s planning committee last night gave the scheme the green light, having previously refused a similar proposal last autumn. A fresh proposal was submitted by Stobart in April this year following further consultation.
The logistics company’s plans are to build 600,000 sq ft of warehousing and a 30,000 sq ft office alongside its existing facilities at the site off the M56, working in partnership with developer Liberty Properties.
Ahead of the application going to committee, Eddie Stobart Logistics argued the development would create at least 480 new jobs and will add £18m to the local economy annually.
At last night’s planning committee, councillors approved the scheme in line with officer recommendations; planners had argued “compelling very special circumstances” existed to allow the development to go ahead on Green Belt land. Avison Young is the planner.
Alex Laffey, chief executive of Eddie Stobart Logistics said: “The national distribution centre will deliver real investment and create 480 jobs and training opportunities for Warrington. Our plans will also see more than £6m invested into the local road network for the benefit of all road users.
“Over the next 18 months we will work closely with Warrington & Co to make sure that Warrington residents and businesses are at the front of the queue for the opportunities provided at the national distribution centre.
“We are proud to have our national headquarters in Warrington and are committed to support the ambitions Warrington Borough Council has for economic growth and job creation.”
Councillors had previously voiced opposition to the scheme having refused it last November. At the time, representatives said 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.
Stobart had appealed the previous refusal, which was against officer recommendation.