Protestors call for Florida Farm re-think

Campaigners protest against the Florida Farm development
Campaigners protest against the Florida Farm development

Campaigners fighting proposals for a £150m logistics hub are calling for it to be examined by council planners for a second time.

Local residents were disappointed when a planning application for Florida Farm North in Haydock was approved in January, despite much opposition.

They suffered another blow when local government secretary Sajid Javid decided not to “call in” the application for a public inquiry.

But they believe that St Helens Council’s planning committee now needs to look at the application again.

It follows an application to build a £141m logistics hub at Haydock Point, which has recently been submitted by Peel Investments (North) Ltd.

Campaigners claim there was a request for a decision on Florida Farm North to be deferred, because the traffic that Haydock Point would generate was not considered, but that was not done because Peel had not submitted the application at that time.

Paul Parkinson, chairman of Residents Against The Florida Farm Development campaign group, said: “I don’t think anyone expected Peel wouldn’t lodge an application, having gone to consultation before Christmas, and it was granted.

“Everyone pleaded for a call-in. The Secretary of State took about six or seven weeks to make a decision. About 10 days before he reached the decision, Peel put in their application which makes it a live application and therefore the traffic has to be assessed, taking into account both developments.

“If that is the case, which I believe it is, then it will have to be reconsidered because things have changed. The other thing they might have to do is reconstitute the committee.”

If the planning committee does not look at the scheme again, the campaigners could consider taking the case to a judicial review. They are determined to keep fighting the planned development, with their concerns including the loss of green belt land and increased traffic.

Developer Bericote Properties Ltd plans to erect two commercial buildings on the site, plus an access road to the A580 East Lancashire Road.

They say it will create the equivalent of 2,119 full-time jobs.

It is thought that St Helens Council is taking legal advice on whether to look at the application again, but a spokesman refused to comment.