Stockport Council has rejected plans for the 1 million sq ft Bredbury Gateway industrial estate proposed on a 76 acre Green Belt site along the River Tame.
In an almost two-and-a-half hour debate on the proposals in a meeting of Stockport Council’s Planning & Highways Regulation Committee, councillors rejected the scheme nine votes to three, with all opposition committee members rejecting plans.
Developers, Quorum, argued that the nature of the development and its potential economic benefits to the local economy, including bringing an estimated 1,600 jobs adjacent to some of Stockport’s most deprived wards, meant that proposals should be given special dispensation to encroach on otherwise protected land. In response to environmental concerns, Quorum had previously scaled back the scheme, reducing the floorspace of the development to allow for more land to remain undeveloped and increase provision of green spaces.
Planning officers had recommended the site be approved by the council, and referred to the Housing and Communities Secretary to permit the loss of the Green Belt. The site had also previously been earmarked for development as part of the controversial Greater Manchester Spatial Framework from which Stockport Council withdrew, primarily due to concerns over the loss of Green Belt land mooted for the borough.
Councillors exercised their discretion to overrule planning officers with one councillor describing the development as ‘urban sprawl’ and in contradiction to the council’s Green Belt Policy.
Following the decision councillors to overrule planning officer recommendations, the developers now have the right to appeal the refusal with the Planning Inspectorate and Secretary of State. In comments published by Place North West, a spokesperson from developers, Quorum Estates, said:
Naturally, we are disappointed by the committee’s decision and echo the chairman’s comments that opposition members of the council need to decide whether Stockport is open for business and investment or not.
“We remain committed to delivering this significant investment for Stockport and welcome the chance for the Secretary of State to make a decision on the application.”