THE controversial plans for the huge Six56 logistics hub on Green Belt land are back in the frame, with Warrington South MP Andy Carter saying he will continue to oppose any large development attempting to “pre-judge the outcome of a new local plan.”
Despite plans by Eddie Stobart for a smaller distribution centre being thrown out on nearby land, Langtree and Panattoni are moving forward with their own plans to create a huge logistics centre on neighbouring land, which includes an Ancient Monument and is believed to be the site of a Roman settlement and road.
A new Environmental Health Report and Environmental Impact Assessment have been submitted to Warrington Borough Council‘s planning department for Land to the west of Junction 20 of the M6 Motorway, and Junction 9 of the M56 Motorway and to the south of, Grappenhall Lane/Cliff Lane (known as Six:56 Warrington) Grappenhall, Warrington.
The Outline Planning (Major) – Outline application (all matters reserved except for access) comprising the construction of up to 287,909m² (gross internal) of employment floorspace (Use Class B8 and ancillary B1(a) offices), demolition of existing agricultural outbuildings and associated servicing and infrastructure including car parking and vehicle and pedestrian circulation, alteration of existing access road into site including works to the M6 J20 dumbbell roundabouts and realignment of the existing A50 junction, noise mitigation, earthworks to create development platforms and bunds, landscaping including buffers, creation of drainage features, electrical substation, pumping station, and ecological works, accompanied by an Environmental Statement.
Commenting on the latest developments Mr Carter said: “I’ve followed the endless Local Plan making process in Warrington over the last four years, and the reason we are seeing speculative applications on the green belt, like this one, is because Councillors have failed to deliver a sound local plan. They’ll blame everyone else, but it comes down to the Local Authority to publish an up to date plan and they haven’t.
“I want to see businesses locating in Warrington but I want them to do that in areas that have been designated for development, not on the Green Belt.
“I remain opposed to large schemes attempting to pre-judge the outcome of a new Local Plan. Planning applications for development in the Green Belt must show there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ for approval and as we saw with a recent call-in by the Secretary of State for land close to Appleton Thorn, there is rightly a very high threshold for approval.
“There is one final opportunity to get the Warrington Local Plan right, this isn’t a hyped claim or a phoney war, the next set of Councillors elected in May will be required to agree the Plan that will shape where we live for the next 20 years. They will have one opportunity to regenerate our town centre and make the right decisions on brownfield sites (more relevant than ever given Covid) and at the same time protect the green spaces which surround our town and villages,” he added.
The £180m development would provide 288,000 square metres of new employment space if approved by Warrington Borough Council.
But as well as being Green Belt the land includes an Ancient Monument and has the potential to include archaeological remains dating to the prehistoric, Roman, medieval, and post-medieval periods, according to a report by Andrew Davison, Inspector of Ancient Monuments, North West.
These include potential field systems, landscape boundaries, and a Roman road.
A further important consideration is the presence of the Scheduled moat at Bradley Hall. This is noted in all supporting documentation and has been identified for change of use to offices.
It is stated that the current utilities and services are to be removed and new utilities and services put in. These below-ground works are within the Scheduled area at Bradley Hall are likely to require Scheduled Monument Consent.
Early consultation with Historic England is advised to establish the need for consent and what is likely to be acceptable with regards to any intrusions.
No development should take place within the area indicated until the applicant, or their agents or successors in title, has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological work in accordance with a written scheme of investigation which has been submitted by the applicant and approved in writing by the local planning authority.
The applicants say that since the submission of the planning application, consultation responses have been received from key consultees and further discussions have taken place with the Council and their key consultees (namely WBC Highway Officers, Highways England (HE) and their consultants Atkins, WBC Environmental Protection Officers, Historic England and WBC Conservation Officer and Ramboll landscape designers acting on behalf of WBC).
Further clarification and information has been provided in line with requests by HE and WBC Highway’s Officer relating to the design of the mitigation and the WMMTM traffic model.
WBC Environmental Protection expressed concerns with exposure to high noise levels that will be experienced at existing properties on Cartridge Lane and sensitive receptors within the site comprising Bradley Hall Cottages and Bradley View to potentially unacceptably high noise levels, even with mitigation in place, based on the worst-case estimates of the proposals as illustrated on the submitted masterplan and parameters plans.
Landscape Consultants Ramboll’s acting on behalf of the Council have also recommended further supplementary information, including an assessment of potential effects on the visual amenity of properties in the vicinity, in order to provide greater transparency to the LVIA and its findings and to aid WBC in its determination of the application. Consequently, the illustrative masterplan and parameters plans have evolved to address comments raised by these key consultees and reduce the noise impacts on sensitive receptors within the site with realignment of estate roads and other minor amendments including details of the highway access into the Site.
The amended environmental statement includes the Applicant agreeing to terminate the use of buildings on the land for residential purposes on the grant of any outline planning permission to avoid any impacts on residential amenity, given the proximity of this building to proposed industrial uses. The future re-use and conversion of this building will be subject of a separate change of use application.
Any subsequent application will give further consideration to the impact any change of use will have on the setting of this heritage asset and the SAM.