PLANS to build a massive warehouse on green belt land as part of an extension of the Omega development near the M62 in Bold are due to be decided this week.

The 2,210,500 sq. ft development, which is on land to the west of Omega South, is earmarked for the retail giant Home Bargains.

The application site is greenfield land and falls within the green belt. It also falls within the Bold Forest Area Action Plan boundary.

On Tuesday, St Helens Borough Council’s planning committee will determine the hybrid application, which is accompanied by a 226-page planning report.

A hybrid application is one which seeks full planning permission for some elements and outline planning permission for others.

The applicant, Omega St Helens Ltd/T.J. Morris Limited, is seeking full planning permission for the erection of a storage and distribution logistics warehouse, referred to as unit 1.

Unit 1 would comprise of a 829,725 sq.ft warehouse with 48,287 sq.ft of ancillary office development.

A car park containing 576 parking spaces, including 156 cycle spaces and provision for up to 39 electric vehicle spaces, is included in the scheme.

For the other element, outline planning permission is sought for a combination of manufacturing and logistics to the remaining application site.

A masterplan detailing the south of the site shows an indicative layout of three warehouse buildings (units 2, 3 and 4).

The applicant states land to the east is to be used for potential future expansion land for the occupier of unit 1, which has not yet been secured.

If the application goes ahead, it would result in a permanent loss of woodland and trees totalling an area of 56,339 m2.

Plantation woodland would be retained as part of the ecological/woodland area in the north west of the site and Booths Wood.

The plans have been met with objections from numerous parish councils in St Helens and Warrington.

This includes two written objections from Bold Parish Council, and objections from Rainhill, Culcheth and Glazebury, and Great Sankey parish councils.

Warrington Guardian:

There have been three rounds of consultation and 118 independent letters of objection have been received.

In addition, two councillors from St Helens, one councillor from Warrington and a Warrington MP has objected to the plans.

The applicant states the proposal will bring significant economic benefits to St Helens both directly and indirectly during construction and operation.

A construction period for the full application is approximately 16 months, with an estimated 1,267 net construction jobs generated by the development.

There would be approximately 1,267 net construction workers jobs and 845 gross full time equivalent (FTE) annual employment opportunities.

When operational, there would be an estimated 980 average FTE jobs and 1,103 total net employment.

However, the applicant states that the warehouse will be significantly more automated than the other distribution sites so the number of high-skilled engineering and machine operator jobs would be significantly higher.

The reports says that approximately 827 FTE jobs will likely be taken up by residents within St Helens.

A contribution of £750,000 has been secured to provide a bus service from St Helens to the application site, following concerns over accessibility.

The council says in the report that the scheme will deliver some “modest” social benefits as there is a “reasonable prospect” of the development making a small contribution to tackling deprivation.

Council officers have recommended to grant planning permission subject to a Section 106 agreement and the Secretary of State not wishing to intervene.

In conclusion, the council’s case officer says in the report that the scheme should be “approved without delay.”

“On balance the proposed development constitutes sustainable development in terms of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) because the ‘very special circumstances’ outweigh the substantial harm to the green belt and other harm,” the report says.

“Furthermore, the public benefits of the proposed development outweigh the heritage harm.

“The proposed development complies with the development plan, so in accordance with Paragraph 11 of the NPPF, it should be approved without delay.

“There are no material considerations which would require a determination other than in accordance with the development plan.

“Rather, the material considerations further support the grant of permission, subject to conditions and a Section 106 agreement.”