Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has refused the first of four controversial warehouse schemes in the North West because they are located on greenbelt land.
Liberty Property and Eddie Stobart’s 630,000 sq ft NDC had been given the green light by Warrington Council but the application was called in at the beginning of the year along with three others including Tritax’s Symmetry’s 1.44 million sq ft warehouse scheme Symmetry Park Wigan; Langtree and St Helens Council’s proposed 1 million sq ft regeneration of the 230-acre former Parkside colliery site in Newton-le-Willows and Harworth Group’s 1 million sq ft Wingates scheme in Bolton.
In all cases the local councils had granted planning permission for the developments. All four were called in by Jenrick. The Eddie Stobart and Liberty property scheme is the first to be decided.
In a report published today, the Secretary of State supported previous objectors to the scheme, in concluding concluded that any benefits of the development would be insufficient to outweigh the likely harm to the Green Belt.
The secretary of state’s report today concluded that “the appeal should be dismissed and the called in planning application should be refused”. The developers are permitted to lodge an appeal with the High Court within six weeks of the decision notice being published.
The North West currently has less than one year’s supply with just one building over 300,000 sq ft available – the former Sports Direct unit in Wigan.
Developer Tritax Symmetry has been working hard to bring forward its proposals for its 134-acre scheme which represents a construction investment of £73m.
The proposals include high-quality logistics buildings, alongside extensive landscaping and planting. The first two units were to be developed speculatively, with construction starting this year
The site sits within the Green Belt and had been identified by Wigan Council as suitable for logistics development in its April 2018 Employment Land Position Statement. The draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework has also identified the site for release from the Green Belt.
Wigan Council has identified that it does not have sufficient land outside the Green Belt to meet its employment land needs.