Friday, March 24, 2017

News: Green Group facing refusal in Green Belt

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Expansion plans from a Rotherham logistics firm that could create hundreds of jobs on a former brickworks are recommended for refusal due to the site being in the Green Belt.

Rothbiz reported last year that the Green Group was putting the wheels in motion for a large-scale expansion at its Maltby depot - a move that could increase local job numbers to over 200.

Formed in 2008, The Green Group started its fleet with just five MAN trucks in 2010 while based at Hellaby Hall Industrial Estate. Moving to a nearby 14-acre site at Maltby in 2012 allowed the firm to build a small transit shed and expand the transport offices. Within two years, the business increased to 90 trucks and 137 trailers, and staff grew by 100 to include new drivers, administrators, engineers, and customer service and warehouse staff.

A planning application was submitted to replace the buildings on the current Maltby site - part of the Ibstock brickworks - with a new build, 100,000 sq ft bonded warehouse with offices. It is set to go before councillors on the Rotherham planning board next week, and they are being recommended by planning officers to refuse the plans.

Permission was previously approved for clay extraction but the Green Belt site is due to be reclaimed and the land re-graded by 2025. The site is set to keep its Green Belt status in the borough's Local Plan. An existing warehouse building is unauthorised.

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The officers report states: "The immediate locality is one that can be described as being free from permanent development and is an important gap between the settlements of Hellaby and Maltby. The landscaping of the site and its immediate environs contributes to the open character of the locality which represents undulating topography.

"Although the building has been designed to be as unobtrusive as possible (coloured in an appropriate finish and set down from adjacent land where possible) its presence, in terms of its significant size and mass taking up much of the application site, is considered to be of significance and any limited landscaping around the periphery of the site could only give minimal screening."

It goes on to conclude that very special circumstances have not been demonstrated by the applicants and that there are other suitable sites in the borough.

The planners conclude: "The proposed building represents an increase in floorspace of approximately 766% over and above that authorised at the site, which would have a significant impact on the openness of the Green Belt in this location and would, therefore, represent inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

"It is not considered that any of the submitted information put forward represent a very special circumstance to justify the inappropriate development proposed. No other very special circumstances have been put forward to overcome the inappropriate nature of the development and the harm by way of its impact on the openness of the Green Belt in this location.

"It is considered that the proposed employment use would be better located on land allocated for employment within the Borough and not on this Green Belt site."

Local MP, Sir Kevin Barron, is backing the plans due to the proposed additional jobs, potentially over 150, that would be created in the local area.

The Green Group website

Images: The Green Group


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