PLANNERS are again recommending approval for a new £75m Eddie Stobart National Distribution Centre on Green Belt land next to its national HQ at Appleton Thorn despite more than 1,100 objections.
In a report to members of the Development Control committee ahead of next week’s meeting (Wednesday July 24) planning officers are recommending approval despite more than 1,100 objections, compared to just 32 letters/emails of support.
If approved, construction of the 624,910 sq. ft. National Distribution Centre would begin in October 2019 and see 480 jobs created at the facility which would be open by the end of 2020.
News of the officer recommendation has been welcomed by Eddie Stobart.
Speaking after the planning application was recommended for approval by officers, Alex Laffey, CEO of Eddie Stobart said: “Since the council’s decision in November 2018 to turn down our previous application we have worked hard overcome the concerns of councillors and we are delighted that our plans have once again been supported by Warrington Borough Council.
“The National Distribution Centre will deliver real investment and create real jobs and training opportunities for Warrington. Our vision will also see over £6million invested into the local road network for the benefit of all road users.
“Over the next 18 months we will work closely with Warrington & Co to make sure that Warrington residents and businesses are at the front of the queue for the opportunities provided at the National Distribution Centre.
“We are proud to have our national headquarters in Warrington and stand ready to deliver on the ambitions that Warrington Borough Council has for the town by this strategic investment in the local economy.”
But the second planning application for the site has outraged local councillors and residents who have once again opposed the controversial development on green belt land.
A total of 1,100 objections had been received at the time of writing the report.
Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid (Labour) Tory PPC Andy Carter and Lib Dem PPC Ryan Bate and local parish councils have all put on a united front opposing the development of green belt land.
Objectors claim the Draft Local Plan and this application are not sound and does not justify release of Green Belt and that temporary low paid jobs will not bring economic benefit to the town.
They argue that many of the current workforce commute from outside of the borough and it will see increased congestion.
They also say Stobarts have failed to demonstrate what economic benefit it would bring, along with a lack of infrastructure, gridlock, air pollution, noise pollution and that exceptional circumstances have not been proved.