Trafford U-turn over Davenport Green

Trafford Council has abandoned controversial proposals to bring a major employment site owned by Royal London Asset Management back into green belt.

The plans were examined as part of the council's new core planning strategy at a public inquiry in May. The council wanted to protect the 335 acre greenfield site and push development to other parts of the borough including Trafford Park industrial estate, Carrington and land along the Manchester Ship Canal.

In a statement issued on Tuesday the local authority said: "The site forms part of the Council's Core Strategy which has recently been subject to examination by the Planning Inspectorate. In the Core Strategy it was originally intended to be returned to Green Belt status as plans for a strategic development offering world class employment opportunities had never materialised since they were originally identified in the early 1990s. However, following the Government's recent announcement of the nearby Airport City Enterprise Zones, and the emerging proposals relating to a possible MediPark at the University Hospital South Manchester [in Wythenshawe], the executive has reconsidered the different context within which the site lies and has agreed that the site should continue to remain outside of the Green Belt until the future need for this site is clarified. To ensure the site is protected any proposals would be subject to strict criteria and be required to demonstrate specific benefits for the borough."

Cllr Mike Cornes of Trafford added: "The area around Davenport Green could be affected by the announcement of the Airport City Enterprise Zone and the MediPark, however the plans are still at a very early stage and so any potential for this area is unclear. The executive recognises the importance of this area as part of the borough's green space and are determined to protect this hence the reasons for the strict requirements any development would have to fulfill.

"By putting into place strict criteria for the land, it means any development would have to be built to a high quality, sustainable standard and closely linked with proposals at Airport City or the MediPark."

Council officers will now be drafting the new proposals for further consideration by the Planning Inspector.

Gareth Dickinson, Royal London's head of property, said: "Royal London Asset Management welcomes the news that Trafford Council's executive has recognised this opportunity at Davenport Green, brought about by the Enterprise Zone and possible MediPark at University Hospital South Manchester.

"The fund is looking forward to considering council officers' new proposals for the site, which will protect the borough's green space.

"Royal London is committed to delivering first class, sustainable buildings which will attract high quality occupiers and about 4,500 new jobs to Trafford.

"We firmly believe that this is a good decision for the future economic vitality of Trafford and the sub-region, and look forward to working with all interested parties to realise our vision."

Carter Jonas advises Royal London.

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