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.”
Very dissapointed to hear Councillors approve Eddie Stobart warehouse on green belt land in South Warrington. I will write to the new Secretary of State to ask that they call this decision in for review.
— Andy Carter (@MrAndy_Carter) July 24, 2019