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Fletcher Rae is the scheme architect. Credit: planning documents

Return to Rochdale committee for 88,000 sq ft shed

A scheme involving the demolition of two units on a Green Belt site at Birch Business Park is recommended for approval next week.

The project is lined up by park owner Yeargate as a new base for tenant Restore, a data management firm.

Yeargate’s professional team includes planner WSP, architect Fletcher Rae, Reddish Demolition. landscaper Urban Wilderness, civil engineer Ridge and QS Warrington Martin.

The submission is a like-for-like iteration of an earlier proposal that went to committee in April this year, where a resolution to grant approval subject to secretary of state call-in was given.

However, the plans were withdrawn in June “due to outstanding and ongoing discussions” between the applicant, Yeargate, and the tenant, Restore. Commercial terms have now been agreed between the parties.

The application relates to Units B and G, at the south-eastern edge of Birch Business Park, which lies close to the M62 service station of the same name – the park is also less than a kilometre from Heywood Distribution Park. The park extends to around 400,000 sq ft in total at present.

Unit B extends to around 41,000 sq ft and Unit G around 7,800 sq ft.

Planning officers believe that the very special circumstances to permit Green Belt development are met by the proposals, on the grounds of economic benefit. The officer report stated:

“The scheme would support and enhance the operations of an existing business in an existing industrial estate location; be sited in the emerging ‘Northern Gateway’ regionally and nationally significant growth area; contribute to the clear need for additional employment and warehousing space within the Borough; and be in scale and form consistent with the approved and potentially forthcoming significant built form.

“Very special circumstances are considered to exist, because the harm to the Green Belt and all other harms that have been identified are clearly outweighed by the other considerations.”

Historically, the site was an MoD maintenance depot, then was owned by the Philips pension fund before being bought by Yeargate in 1985.

Restore, which moved into Building D on Birch Business Park recently with the intention of developing a commercial hub, is an organisation made up of five businesses working in data, information and asset management services.

Rochdale’s planning and licensing meeting will be held on 24 November. The Birch reference number is 22/01148/FUL.

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