Secretary of State ‘calls in’ £180m logistics scheme

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove orders planning inquiry into £180m logistics scheme that would create 3.1m sq ft of space on the green belt. Tony McDonough reports

Six56 in Warrington would create 3.1m sq ft of employment space


A £180m logistics scheme in Warrington has been ‘called in’ by Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove and will now be subject to a planning inquiry.

Developer Langtree had previously secured outline planning consent for the 3.1m sq ft Six56 in from Warrington Council. In May the Government said Mr Gove would not be calling in the scheme.

In a letter to the council it said: “The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues.”

However, in June the council was informed the Secretary of State was rethinking his decision. And, late on Tuesday, it was confirmed the project was now being called in. Its fate will be decided by a Government planning inspector.

Six 56 Warrington is a proposed strategic employment site located at Junction 20 of the M6 and Junction 9 of the M56 motorways. The plans are being brought forward by Langtree along with Panattoni.

John Downes, group chief executive of Langtree, said on Tuesday evening: “A review of this nature is not unexpected when set against the scheme’s scale and job-creation impact.

READ MORE: Developer sees 2023 pipeline grow to £3m

“I have instructed my team to begin work immediately to prepare the information that the Secretary of State and Planning Inspectorate will require.

“Our application is in-line with Warrington’s emerging local plan, which has identified the site as necessary for meeting its statutory employment land obligations. We can demonstrate a clear and compelling economic case for the site.

“We’re ready to invest more than £180m in a local supply chain to develop the site which, when completed, will generate more than £216m a year in new economic output. It will also generate more than £7m a year in new rates income for the council.”

Mr Gove’s decision was welcomed by Warrington South Conservative MP Andy Carter who raised the matter in the House of Commons earlier this year. He added: “The land proposed to be taken by Six56 is almost in its entirety in the green belt.

“While the local plan proposes it should be removed, the plan has yet to be adopted and decisions on building major logistic hubs should only be made once the local plan has been considered.”

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