Warehouse development won’t have an environmental impact on Green Belt

Developers are looking at the Green Belt.
Developers are looking at the Green Belt.

A firm won’t have to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before applying to build on 30 hectares of Green Belt near Newhouse.

Arrandale Limited intends to apply for planing permission in principle to construct a development of up to 303,000 sq m which would contain a mixture of class 4 (business), class 5 (general industrial) and class 6 (storage and distribution) units.

The site is approximately 250 metres from M8 and bordered by Edinburgh Road to the north, Bellside Road to the east and Biggar Road to the west, made up of restored grassland and is designated as part of the Green Belt.

As well as the units themselves the works would also include associated landscaping, service facilities, highway infrastructure, parking and other ancillary works.

However, as the planning application would only be in principle no information about the density of the scheme has yet been made available.

Arrandale sent a formal request to North Lanarkshire Council to find out if they need to carry out an EIA, also known as a screening option, in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Regulations 2011.

However, the firm made it clear it believes the development would be justified.

Will Ryan, director of real estate company Savills, writing on Arrandale’s behalf, pointed to a similar development which is now home to Brakes and the Co-op.

He said: “The likelihood is that these matters will be similar to the principles established by the adjoining development to the north of Edinburgh Road.

“That development was also situated within the Green Belt, and thus the proposed scheme is considered to be a logical extension.

“The conclusion is reached that this particular development would not have any significant impacts on the environment: the planning process, rather than the EIA process, is most appropriate is this case to assess the suitability of the site and its environmental impacts.”

The council’s planning department says Mr Ryan is incorrect, as the sites where the warehouses have been developed were allocated for industrial and business uses in the North Lanarkshire Local Plan, not as Green Belt.

Nonetheless, the council’s head of Planning and Regeneration Shirley Linton agrees the development is unlikely to cause an environmental impact.

Although did point out this did not necessarily mean it would be looked on favourably by the planning committee.

She said: “Taking into account the nature, scale and location of the development it is considered it is unlikely there would be a significant and complex environmental effect from this development that would have an irreversible effect on the environment.

“Overall it is concluded by this planning authority that the development as proposed does not require an Environmental Impact Assessment.

“This only relates to the need for an EIA and does not offer any advice on the merits of the proposal and it is strongly suggested this should be sought.”