POLITICIANS have united against controversial plans to build a £75 million Eddie Stobart warehouse on green belt land.

The logistics firm’s proposals to construct a new national distribution centre were turned down by the council in November but a fresh application was later submitted.

The company’s existing headquarters are located at Stretton Green Distribution Park, which would remain in operation.

The new facility would be constructed opposite its premises, on land north of Barleycastle Lane.

Eddie Stobart says it will create at least 480 new full-time jobs.

As part of the very special circumstances highlighted for building in the green belt in November, the company pointed to the £570 million of turnover each year from its Warrington headquarters.

But councillors decided the economic benefits did not outweigh harm to the green belt.

The deadline to submit views on the current application has been extended to May 31 following issues with the council’s planning portal.

This week, following complaints from residents, Cllr Sharon Harris (LD – Appleton) told Town Hall chiefs the problems were unacceptable.

In his objection to the application, Cllr Ryan Bate (LD – Grappenhall), Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, highlighted the protection of green belt has ‘rightly been enhanced’ in the new national planning policy framework.

He said: “There is still nothing in the application which to me warrants very special circumstances for the release of green belt.

“Indeed, my greatest fear is that, should planning permission be granted for this application, the precedent which this council would set could be disastrous for Warrington’s green spaces and its population.”

Tory candidate for Warrington South Andy Carter says he believes the application is ‘fundamentally the same in nature’ as the one which was rejected.

“In my opinion, the grounds for refusal have not altered, in that the application is being made at a premature stage in the process of the local plan development and that the necessary exceptional circumstances for development in the green belt have not been met,” he added.

“Granting permission now would make a mockery of such an important statutory consultation and would act as an immediate invitation to further applications without regard for consideration of the necessary infrastructure to accommodate such growth.”

Labour’s Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid has also objected to the proposed development.

He said: “I am concerned that the release of this land could set a worrying precedent for the future of other areas of our protected green space, opening the floodgates for further changes to our town’s green belt policy.

“I have been actively supporting a brownfield first approach to development.

“Giving way on the release of green belt, no matter how small, surely only makes safeguarding these much-loved sites more difficult in the future.”

Eddie Stobart has been asked for a comment.