Extra MSA has lodged an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a £75m motorway services area on the M62 near Birchwood in Cheshire.
In 2019 Extra MSA applied for planning permission for a facilities building, up to 100-bedroom hotel, service yard, fuel filling station, electric charging station, parking facilities landscaping, amenity areas and associated infrastructure.
However, in June last year Warrington Borough Council’s Development Management Committee turned down the scheme on the grounds that the benefits it would bring would be outweighed by the harm it would cause to the green belt.
A leading law firm, Shoosmiths, has now been instructed by Extra MSA to lodge an appeal and it has requested a public inquiry for the appeal.
Outlining its case it said that the council’s own planning officer recommended to its Development Management Committee that outline planning permission should be granted. She stated: “Officers are satisfied that the benefits put forward clearly and demonstrably outweigh the harm identified and as such it is considered that the case for very special circumstances has been demonstrated.”
It added: “However, the Committee were not minded to follow the recommendation of the Case Officer and refused the outline application giving the following reasons for refusal: ‘The proposed development would constitute inappropriate development in the Green Belt and by definition would be harmful to the green belt. The applicant’s case for Very Special Circumstances is not considered to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt, by way of functionality and loss of openness, and any other harm resulting from the development’.”
In the summary of its case, Extra MSA said it accepted that its scheme was “inappropriate” development and that substantial negative weight should be given to this, and that limited harm would be caused to the green belt, but the positive implications outweighed these and it should be allowed.