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Eddie Stobart wins planning approval for Green Belt plan


EDDIE Stobart has won planning permission for a controversial National Distribution Centre on Green Belt land opposite their national HQ at Appleton Thorn.

Despite opposition from thousands of local residents and local councillors, members of Warrington Borough Council’s Development Management Committee voted 8-2 in favour of the application which was being recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers.

The application was proposed for approval by Cllr Peter Carey (Lab) and seconded by Cllr Brian Maher (Lab). Eight Labour members of the committee voted in favour of the application, while two Lib Dem members voted against it.

Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid (Lab) submitted a written objection which was read out by Cllr Laurence Murphy (Lab).

Lib Dem Cllr Ryan Bate said after the meeting that he was “absolutely disgusted” by the decision which he said “begged belief” and campaigners would now be considering seeking a judicial review.

They will also be lobbying the Secretary of State to call in the application and for there to be a public inquiry.

Although Eddie Stobart has won backing from the borough council the application will still have to go before the Secretary State who will make the final decision due to the scale of the development on green belt land.

The full planning committee hearing which lasted around 1:45 can be seen by watching the video (top) while Ryan Bates comments can be heard in the video below.

The proposals for a £75m 59,000 sqm, state-of-the-art building on land close to the existing Eddie Stobart’s HQ will create at least 480 new jobs in Warrington and add £18 million to the local economy every year.

A previous planning application for the scheme was turned down by Warrington Borough Council – against Officer advice – in November last year. That decision has since been appealed for review by the Planning Inspectorate, which is due to be heard in October.

There was controversy recently when members of the development control committee voted to not defend the reasons for refusal on green belt and prematurity grounds.

After the meeting Warrington South Tory PPC Andy Carter said: “I am very disappointed that Councillors decided to approve development of a large distribution centre in the green belt tonight before the local plan has been finalised. I will be writing to Robert Jenrick MP who has tonight taken up the role of Secretary of State to ask him to call the decision in for review.”

Protesters who gathered outside the town hall


Eddie Stobart welcomes council backing for £75m National Distribution Centre


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.


  1. As I understand it the councillor who seconded the motion, voted for the proposal but had absolutely no idea where the site is, was Brian Maher. Is that correct?

    • I agree. This is the substance of a complaint I’m formulaing and will be putting to the Monitoring Officer when I’ve finalised it

      I would like to draw your attention to last night’s DMC meeting which rejected the second Stobart Application.
      In that meeting Councillor Maher clearly had no clue as to where the Stobart development was located. He even admitted this when he asked if it was the old Greenall land.
      Clearly Cllr. Maher had not read the papers he had been provided with.

      There are rules for councillors to declare conflicts of interest and refrain from voting if there is any conflict. Surely the corollary should apply and if they have little idea about the detail they should not be passing judgment.

      I believe Cllr. Marr therefore breached the third Nolan principle of OBJECTIVITY,
      “Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.”
      In not knowing such a basic fact about the location of an application then clearly he was not using the best evidence and not being objective..

      Arguably he was also breaching the seventh Nolan principle of LEADERSHIP as defined in WBC’s Item 8 of its Code of Conduct for Members.
      “…. on all occasions, act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in you. ”

      How can the public put trust in a councillor who was clearly out of touch and who gave the impression of ‘winging it’ and only being there to make up the numbers. He certainly didn’t ask any more questions.

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