Panattoni’s plans to develop a major logistics park on green belt land in South Warrington could be called in for review, in a government u-turn which could set a precedent for other logistics sites across the country.

The Six56 Warrington project, located next to the M6 and M56 at Lymm, is being developed by Panattoni, in partnership with commercial property company Langtree. As well as creating 4,100 new jobs the 3.1 million square foot development is expected to add more than £7m a year in new rateable income, according to the partnership.

It was given planning permission by Warrington Borough Council in March, despite fierce local opposition, and an application for Levelling Up Secretary of State Michael Gove to call in the plans for review was declined in May.

However, following an impassioned plea for a review by Warrington South MP Andy Carter, during Prime Ministers Questions two weeks ago, the Labour council has been ordered not to give the greenlight to the development.

In a letter sent this week from the planning casework unit of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the council has been told “not to grant permission on the application" to "enable the Secretary of State to consider whether he should direct it be referred to him for determination."

Warrington South Conservative MP Andy Carter welcomed this move by the Secretary of State this week. He added: "I’ve asked Ministers to review the decision taken by the Planning Inspectorate given the level of local concern raised and the fact that the land sits in the green belt.

“The size of this development is far greater than others which have been referred to a public inquiry and given the wider impact on local roads and strategic infrastructure there should be a full inquiry to determine an outcome."

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Liberal Democrat Councillor Ian Marks also welcomed the news. He said it was wrong for the planning application to have been approved by the council prior to the Local Plan being agreed. He added: “There is precedent for other major local logistics sites to be determined nationally because they are of regional importance.”

Marks also questioned the environmental impact of the site and its economic benefits to the area. “There is no rail access to this site and the low skilled jobs created there would steadily disappear with increased automation," he said.

Langtree chief executive John Downes said he was aware of the suspension of planning permission. He said the partnership remains committed to the project adding: “We will now take advice and keenly await further guidance from the Secretary of State.”

In a statement Warrington Borough Council said: “We await direction on how this letter corresponds with a previous letter from the Secretary of State which details the decision not to call in the application.

“This previous letter further highlights the importance of decisions being determined by local planning authorities. We will therefore seek clarity on the matter as soon as possible.”