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Growing demand for warehousing and a “critical” shortage of industrial land has seen a controversial plan to build a £73m logistics hub on Green Belt land near Wigan, given the green light by the government.

Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, requested a public inquiry into Symmetry Park, near junction 25 of the M6, after it was approved by Wigan council’s planning committee last year. The call-in was prompted by local opposition to the hub being built on Green Belt land.

This week the Department revealed that Jenrick had approved the planning inquiry’s decision to give the scheme the go-ahead. He said that “employment land supply in the area has been unable to keep pace with demand and is now critically low” with no suitable alternative sites in the borough to accommodate the proposed development.

He also agreed that the site would create a substantial amount of “well-paid jobs” and boost the local economy.

Symmetry Park Wigan, which is to be built on a site formerly used as an open cast coal mine, is expected to create 1,650 jobs when operational, and 1,200 construction jobs. The 134-acre site could provide 1.44m sq ft of logistics employment space.

Matt Claxton, planning director at Tritax Symmetry, said: “We are pleased that the Secretary of State has recognised the significant economic benefits that are derived from a scheme the scale of Symmetry Park Wigan, both during the construction phase and once operational.

“The decision to call in the scheme has inevitably caused delays and, given the strength of occupational demand, we will therefore press on immediately with the infrastructure works on site to enable us to commence speculative construction of phase one comprising 300,000 sq ft and deliver pre-lets.”