CAMPAIGNERS’ hopes of blocking Manchester Airport’s massive ‘World Logistics Hub’ – earmarked for land near Hale Barns – have been dealt a final blow, after the Government refused to intervene.
Planning permission was granted last month for the scheme, which will combine with the airport’s existing cargo facilities to provide up to 1.4 million sq ft of new logistics space.
Planning chiefs received 114 letters and petitions containing 388 signatures objecting to the scheme.
The campaigners were backed by Altrincham and Sale West MP Graham Brady, who asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, to ‘call in’ the plan to be determined by a public inquiry.
But his request has been turned down.
Mr Brady said: “I am disappointed that the Secretary of State has made this decision and I will now work with residents and the airport to try to ensure that the development is managed as sympathetically and responsibly as possible.”
The logistics hub – cargo space for freight companies – will be located on land near the airport’s World Freight Terminal – at the junction of the A538 and Sunbank Lane, Ringway, and threatened Oak Farm.
In addition to Mr Brady’s objection, Manchester City Council received complaints from Hale Barns councillor Patrick Myers, Save Sunbank residents group, Ringway Parish Council, Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport and others.
The main concerns put forward were increased traffic congestion, the fact the land the hub will be built on has recently been released from the green belt and that inappropriate consultation has been carried out with residents.
Manchester Airport claims the development will boost the economy, providing 1,800 jobs.
Audrey O’Donovan, from Save Sunbank, said they were disappointed the Government had refused to call a public inquiry and refuted the job claims.
“The land in question is such an important site which has never been visited by any member of the committee's that have made the decision to allow the airport to build these warehouses and car parking spaces. It should have been deferred, at least until the people making such a detrimental decision had the chance to view it. They really have no idea of the impact such a decision will make on the environment, and they really believe that 1800 jobs are to be created!”
She added: “Ringway Parish Council and the Save Sunbank team would like to thank Graham Brady for his efforts and understanding of the situation. “ Airport City director, John Atkins, said: “We're pleased that the project is moving ahead.
"World Logistics Hub will attract new international businesses and help existing airport businesses to expand which in turn will generate much-needed economic growth and provide over 1,800 new jobs.
"The development will create a sustainable commercial product of international significance for the North, providing high quality logistics facilities linked to the existing airport freight area, with access to the global marketplace."
A letter from the Department for the Communities and Local Government to Mr Brady , explaining the decision not to call in the plan, said: “We have concluded that the Secretary of State’s intervention would not be justified in this case. We are satisfied that the issues raised are not of such significance to suggest the application would be more appropriately decided by the secretary of state rather than the council.”