Council told not to ‘sit on fence’ at Six56 inquiry
WARRINGTON Borough Council won’t product evidence at a public inquiry over plans for a distribution hub on green belt land – despite being told not to ‘sit on the fence’.
Outline proposals for the major employment site, which would be named Six 56 Warrington, submitted by developers Langtree and Panattoni were approved by the council’s development management committee in March last year.
The application was approved subject to conditions and a S106 obligation, as well as the secretary of state not wishing to intervene.
It would be located next to junction 20 of the M6 and junction nine of the M56 in Lymm.
In May, the secretary of state advised that he was content that the application should be determined by the local authority and would not be ‘called in’.
But in November, the secretary of state confirmed that the application should be referred to him and ‘called in’, and decided to hold a public inquiry into the plans.
A public inquiry is set to be held in May.
It had been recommended that the council does not produce evidence either in support of, or in opposition to, the proposed development at the forthcoming public inquiry. The issue came before the development management committee at its meeting on Wednesday.
Cllr Ian Marks: “I am here in my capacity as deputy chairman of the South Warrington Parish Councils Planning Working Group.
“The SWP represents six parish councils in south Warrington, including my own council Lymm.
“Now we have been accepted as a Rule 6 party at a public inquiry in May, which we assume is still taking place of course.
“Now this application has had a controversial history, which I won’t go into now.”
Cllr Marks also said ‘it is our contention you should not be sitting on the fence’.
He added: “Part of your justification is that you can not be sure that the local plan will be changed, in line with the preliminary findings.”
The committee accepted the recommendation, meaning the council will not produce evidence either in support of, or in opposition to, the proposed development.
However, officers will ‘maintain a role’ in the inquiry in terms of assisting the inspector ‘through the provision of associated documentation, being available for any queries the inspector may have and suggesting conditions/S106 obligation’ should the application be approved.
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