WARRINGTON South MP Faisal Rashid is backing residents’ opposition to proposals to build a huge logistics and manufacturing development on Green Belt land at Grappenhall.
The Six: 56 proposal by Langtree involves a 288,000 sq. m. logistics and manufacturing development on land at Bradley Hall farm between Grappenhall Lane (B5356) and Cliff Lane (A50).
In a letter to Warrington Borough Council Chief Executive Steven Broomhead, Faisal said: “I am concerned to hear about these proposals given the fact that they are in the existing defined Green Belt. I am further concerned about these proposals given the fact that consultation process on the next stage of drawing up the new Local Plan for Warrington does not commence until 2019.
“My position on development in the Green Belt remains the same as was outlined in my response to the Council’s Preferred Development Option consultation last year. I firmly believe that the Green Belt should be protected from development wherever possible. And, I have real concerns about proposals which seek to earmark significant areas of the Green Belt for large scale development.
“I am concerned about proposals to alter the designation of areas of Green Belt land in our town. I also have concerns about the loss of green open spaces that are real community assets, much-loved by local residents.
“The Green Belt is intended to stop urban sprawl and to stop encroachment of the countryside.
He added: “National planning policy on the Green Belt is clear. This land should only be developed in the most exceptional of circumstances. It should be protected from development wherever possible. Such exceptional or very special circumstances are not demonstrated in these proposals.
“Should this land be released from the Green Belt, I am concerned that this could set a worrying precedent for the future of other areas of our protected green space, potentially opening the floodgates for further changes to our Green Belt policy.
“Local green spaces serve as a green lung for our town. I appreciate that the Council is committed to future proofing as much of the Green Belt as possible, but by giving way on the release of this Green Belt, this would surely only make the protection of these sites more uncertain in future.
“I understand that locally there is opposition to these proposals due to the loss of countryside, impact on local ecology (including protected species), transport congestion, noise and air pollution. I share these concerns.
“There are substantial health benefits in accessing this land for recreation and leisure purposes and ultimately this land can improve quality of life for residents. Green space is an important environmental asset for local communities, particularly in otherwise built up areas.
“I believe that giving the go ahead for large areas of local Green Belt land to be developed is not the right approach for Warrington South and that it ignores the wishes of many local people.”
Meanwhile local residents have also voiced their opposition to the proposal.
One resident Mike Shaw, who currently lives on land opposite Bradley Farm said: “This is a beautiful part of Warrington’s Green Belt – it is also a successful dairy farm currently producing 30,000 litres of milk a week which will be lost to the local community.
“There is also lots of wildlife including birds of prey, bats and hares. The whole area is full of wildlife.”
Another resident, Mark Kelly, also questioned the mandate behind the proposal and raised issues of “conflict of interest” with members and officers of the borough council, sitting alongside directors of Langtree on the Wire regeneration.
“Warrington already has major problems with the traffic being a nightmare. With lots more lorry movements it is just going to make things worse and cause more pollution.
“There is also talk of 4,900 new jobs – these are not going to be permanent jobs, they will include contractors involved in building the development.”
The companies behind the proposals Langtree with partner First Panattoni, say it will provide a wide range of job opportunities for local people, ‘from entry-level operatives to supply chain managers and skilled technicians.’
New employment sites are needed to maintain Warrington’s position as one of the UK’s most successful local economies and continue its track record of attracting new employers and jobs to the area, the local council believes. Langtree and First Panattoni are bringing forward their proposals in response to Warrington Borough Council’s emerging Local Plan, which has identified a need for 941 acres of new employment space over the next 20 years.
Two workshops are being held at Grappenhall Community Centre, Bell House Farm, Bellhouse Lane, Warrington WA4 2SG:
• 5pm – 7pm Monday 15th October and
• 2pm – 4pm Tuesday 16th October
Places at the workshop will have to be limited, so the public is being asked to register their interest in advance by calling Freephone 0800 130 3353 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org