The inquiry will take place between 8 and 22 May. Credit: via Merrion Strategy

Warrington to take backseat at 3m sq ft logistics inquiry

Uncertainty over the local plan means the council will neither support nor oppose Langtree and Panattoni’s £180m Green Belt scheme at the May hearing, despite backing the proposals last March. 

Warrington Council approved outline proposals for the 3m sq ft Six56, claiming the development would provide much-needed jobs and an economic boost to the area. 

Located off Junction 20 of the M6, south of the town centre, the development proposes seven separate logistics units that could accommodate up to 4,000 jobs once complete. 

Having first decided not to intervene, secretary of state Michael Gove had a change of heart and called the project in for further scrutiny in November. 

Since then, work on Warrington’s local plan has progressed and the amount of land the council has earmarked for employment development is under the spotlight. 

The council’s employment land needs assessment mapped out 780 acres across the borough for redevelopment into job-creating schemes. 

However, inspectors analysing the local plan have said this is excessive.

They say only 415 acres of employment land is required, according to a report to Warrington Council’s development management committee. 

Read the full report

As a result, the inspectors have recommended that the allocation that includes Langtree and Panattoni’s scheme – the 338-acre South East Warrington Employment Area – is “deleted” from the local plan. 

A final decision on whether the allocation will be removed won’t be released until a final report from the inspectors is published in July. 

Because the timelines of both the inquiry – to be held between 8 and 22 May – and consultation on the local plan converge, Warrington Council has taken the decision to play a passive role in the former. 

The report states: “Given that the employment need evidence base underpinning [the local plan] is likely to evolve during the course of consideration and determination of the application by the secretary of state, it is considered that the most appropriate position for the LPA at the forthcoming inquiry is to not produce evidence in support of or in opposition to the application.” 

Langtree declined to comment. 

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