The Council was hoping to take the Local Plan for approval to the October Cabinet and then on to the full Council at the end of the month. I asked about the timing at the Council meeting last Monday and from the response I received, it seems likely that approval will now be delayed until the Council meeting at the beginning of December. We believe that the Council will follow the recommendation from the two Inspectors and delete the South Warrington Employment Area and leave the land in the Green Belt so that the Plan is judged to be ‘sound’.
The Public Inquiry for the planning application for the massive Six/56 logistics site next to M6 Junction 20 started in early summer but had to be adjourned due to a procedural mistake involving the Manchester Mosses. The first available date for the adjournment was in mid-October. It is now realised that this would create a difficulty because the Local Plan will not have been approved by then. If the Six/56 Inspector allowed the application to go ahead, this would be in direct conflict with the Local Plan Inspectors and make a mockery of the planning system.
It has since been clarified that the October adjournment will still be held, but will only consider issues such as highways, ecology and heritage but not planning. All matters to do with planning will be deferred to a second adjournment, probably in February. By that time the Local Plan should have been approved. The Council support the Six/56 planning application but I did not get a clear answer to my question at Council about what stance the Council would be taking at this second adjournment. Will it sit on the fence as it did before?
Councillors, residents and the planning consultant and barrister employed by the South Warrington Parish Council’s Planning Group will continue to fight the Six/56 proposal. When the Local Plan is approved, it would be great news if Langtree withdrew the application and admitted defeat. We doubt this will happen because there is an awful lot at stake for the company.