Tatton Services primed for green light
Proposed by the firm behind the hugely successful Tebay, in partnership with Tatton Group, the Cheshire project is tipped for approval locally but as a Green Belt site requires Secretary of State sign-off.
Situated between Junctions 7 and 8 of the M56 in Cheshire, the facility is proposed by Westmorland Group, operator of both the long-established Tebay and the more recent Gloucester Services on the M5.
Plans were submitted in March 2022. Family-owned Westmorland is known for its support for local farmers and growers, operating venues without big chains or franchises, with high levels of sustainability.
Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board meets on 25 October, and will consider the proposals, with approval recommended by officers.
Glenn Howells Architects, planner Pegasus Group and landscape architect Planit lead a professional team also including project manager FWP and sustainability advisor Ramboll.
Ecology Solutions is the ecology consultant. Jensen Hughes is the fire consultant and Lightpad is the lighting consultant. BWB and Les Postawa complete the team.
The plans cover the erection of a Motorway Service Area, demolition of all existing buildings except for the retention and conversion of a farmhouse building, and the part-retention and conversion of as barn. The site is 39 acres in total.
Plans include the 68,000 sq ft main amenity building, a 100-bedroom hotel, filling station including photovoltaics and ancillary structures, a service yard, parking for all categories of vehicle (around 800=plus spaces across all categories), open space, landscaping and planting, drainage and pedestrian and cycle links, including diversion of an existing cycle track.
As outlined by officers, the project in legal terms represents “inappropriate development in the Green Belt, which reduces openness and encroaches into the countryside”.
However, officers continue, while there will be some localised harm to the open rural character of the site, the visual effects are tempered by the position of the site surrounded by the road network and proposed landscaping.
Officers state: “The design approach for the development to reflect a modern farmstead is a positive aspect of the proposal, and adequate open space is provided having regard to the location, type and scale of development.”
The Gloucester development opened in recent years has been widely praised for the way it fits into the surrounding landscape, with a green roof and site orientation reducing its visual impact.
A key plank of the applicant’ evidence is road user safety, with a gap analysis submitted showing that a new MSA would fill gaps in the strategic road network. As outlined in the officers’ report, the applicant identifies 20 gaps exceeding 28m in service provision on routes around the area’s strategic road network, concluding that a new MSA would remove eight of these gaps.
Lymm Truckstop, as a non-fully-signed services with limited parking, is omitted from this analysis, but should still be a material consideration, officers said. Since the Tatton plans emerged, Lymm operator Moto has come forward with plans to significantly expand the Lymm offer.
Two rounds of consultation have thrown up 150 representations objecting to the plans. Trafford Council is also an objector, on Green Belt grounds and also raising concerns over impact on its town centres. Twenty seven letters of support have also been recorded.
Approval is recommended subject to a Section 106 agreement, and with the coda that the proposal will have to be referred to Whitehall for sign-off. The plans can be viewed on Cheshire East’s planning portal with the reference 22/0872M.