Councillors step up against Logistics Sites

July 14, 2019 5:10 PM
By Ryan Bate

The revised planning application for Eddie Stobart's new logistics site in the south of the town has now been fixed for going to Warrington Council's planning committee on 24 July.

The previous application was turned down in the autumn by the planning committee despite officers recommending approval.

The Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, Councillor Ryan Bate, says, "We are doing everything we can to fight this proposal. The Council Leader claims he is listening to the people and we welcome this, but in this case, he is ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of the residents. The people strongly oppose this application, as he knows from the Leader's forum he held recently in Appleton. The new application is little changed from the previous one that was turned down.

The South Warrington Parish Councils' planning group of which I am a member, has taken on a barrister so legal advice can be presented to the committee arguing that the application is wrong on both green belt and 'prematurity' grounds. We will be sharing this legal opinion with members of the planning committee ahead of the meeting.

We are very disappointed that the Council has backed off from opposing Stobart's appeal against the refusal of its first application. This appeal will be held in the autumn. Our barrister's advice suggests they were wrong to do so. It is also really unfortunate that the planning committee had to make the decisions on whether to defend the appeal while the second Stobart's application was pending. We hope that the planning committee doesn't allow this to get in the way of viewing this new Stobart's application in its own right and not feeling that its hands are tied in terms of the decision they make.

If this application is passed we can expect another one for a much bigger logistics site, Six56, to follow shortly. If this was passed too, it makes an utter mockery of the Local Plan consultation process. It undermines any notion of public consultation, strategic thinking and due process and essentially means the Council is giving the green light to any developer to put in applications now before the Local Plan is agreed.

If the members of the planning committee reject our barrister's advice and approve Stobart's second application, then the application must go to the Tory Secretary of State for his approval which gives us a second opportunity to put our case.

We are also considering a Judicial Review to challenge the flawed decision should the committee grant planning permission."