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Path cleared for £150m logistics hub on greenbelt land

A £150m logistics development in St Helens will go ahead after the project secured final planning permission.

Plans were first given the green light by St Helens Council in April this year. However, the greenbelt location meant developer Bericote has had to wait to see whether a judicial review of the project would go ahead.

It is now understood there will be no judicial review, giving the developer the all-clear to proceed with the project.

The Florida Farm North scheme includes two buildings with a total floorspace of 1.4m sq ft, alongside a new junction on the A580 East Lancashire road.

Planning consultant Lichfields, which has advised Bericote on the scheme, said it had to prove “very special circumstances” to allow the project to be built on greenbelt land.

Michael Watts, senior director and head of Lichfields’ Manchester office, said: “There is an overriding need for the provision of large-scale logistics buildings in St Helens, both to meet the economic needs of the borough and the wider needs of the Liverpool region.

“We demonstrated that this need was sufficient to meet the very special circumstances test.”

The planners estimate that the project will create around 400 construction jobs, with a potential start date of Q4 2017 already in place.

Construction is expected to take two years. Once complete, the development is expected to create 2,500 jobs.

Bericote is already in discussion with potential occupants for the logistics units at the site. A contractor has yet to be appointed.

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