LOCAL councillors have expressed their relief after members of Warrington’s planning committee rejected plans for a new M62 motorway service area and hotel development on green belt land.
Members voted 7-4 to refuse the application for the controversial development on land to the north of Junction 11 – against officer advice.
Councillor Wendy Maisey OBE said: “This is a victory for common sense and for the greenbelt in and around our ward.
“There was a recommendation for the committee to approve the development subject to some conditions, so we are delighted with the result. Only last month we were elected on a promise to protect the green belt surrounding our villages and we intend to keep that promise to our residents. We are fully aware that the applicant has the right to appeal this decision and will be keeping abreast of the case and any future developments. We will continue to work closely cross Party with Culcheth & Glazebury and Croft Parish Councils who also oppose this development”.
Councillor Val Allen added: “This development in green belt would have brought even more traffic to the area. We are still awaiting the results from the Parkside and Haydock public inquiry on the proposed developments, all these applications need to be considered together, air pollution is already high across the M6/M62 corridor without adding more vehicle movements”.
The development was turned down by members of Warrington Borough Council’s planning committee on the grounds that the very circumstances for building on the green belt did not outweigh the harm caused by the development.
The development was opposed by Culcheth and Glazebury Parish Council and Croft Parish Council and there was a holding objection from HS2 Ltd.
Altogether, there were 16 objections on the grounds of loss of Green Belt land, nearness of the existing Burtonwood Service Area (about six miles away), impact on local road network and loss of agricultural land.
There were also concerns because the site is located on peat soils which form part of the extended Risley- Pestfurlong, Astley and Chat Mosses which are said to provide a significant carbon reservoir to protect against climate change.
Officers had recommended the scheme be approved, subject to the HS2 objection being withdrawn and the Secretary of State not wishing to intervene.
It was estimated the development would create 228 jobs – although these were expected to be mainly low-paid jobs.