THE developers behind the M6 Major project at Florida Farm are seeking to create a third warehouse unit at the site.

Bericote Properties won permission to develop two warehouses at the green belt site in 2017 after a major planning battle.

READ MORE > Plans for illuminated Amazon signs at Florida Farm deferred

On Wednesday (July 10) Bericote submitted a 'screening opinion request' which seeks to determine whether there is a need for an Environmental Impact Assessment over the plans for a third warehouse.

Bericote argue the third warehouse would bring £6m of investment to the borough with the potential to have 116 direct and 34 indirect full-time equivalent employees locally and yield £220,000 annual business rates to St Helens Council.

They also claim 74 person years worth of construction employment in total would be created.

The proposals, drawn up by consultants Lichfields, state: "On behalf of our client, Bericote Properties, we request that the council provides a formal screening opinion to confirm whether there is a requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment in respect of a proposed distribution warehouse and office development".

The application adds the proposed development includes the proposed creation of a 5,946 sq m (64,000 sq ft) premises including a distribution warehouse and ancillary office development alongside 59 car parking spaces.

This includes a 56,500 sq ft warehouse and 7,500 sq ft two-storey office.

The document says the council has already granted permission for 135,000 sq m of commercial building floorspace, and says the third warehouse would still see 35 per cent less than this in use. 

A full planning application to be submitted in relation to the proposals in due course.

St Helens Star:

An image of the planned warehouse

The document says the proposed new warehouse would be "similar but significantly smaller in nature than the existing units on site" and adds "the proposals, taken on their own are therefore unlikely to give rise for the need of an EIA".

The document says the proposed development will be "adjacent to the existing units" and claims Unit 3 would "sit comfortably within the wider development, therefore the development cannot be considered to have a significant urbanising effect on a site which was not previously intensely developed".

It also claims it is "unlikely to give rise to transport effects giving rise to the need for an EIA" and that an assessment on effects on air quality found they would be "negligible".

The document also argues that there will not be significant environmental effects due to noise or vibrations.

Bericote also claims drainage, ground contamination and ecology will not be affected considerably enough to warrant the EIA.

They also argue there will be "no significant adverse landscape and visual effects from the proposed development".

The controversial plans for the initial two warehouses, which were passed by St Helens Council's planning committee in January 2017, had seen more than 2,000 letters of objection submitted against them with the residents Against the Florida Farm development group formed.

St Helens Star:

The initial plans were strongly opposed by residents

'Unit 1', which is being used by online retail giant Amazon, was described in follow-up applications as a "34,114m sq commercial/industrial building" with "ancillary office and welfare hubs and the provision of associated infrastructure including roads, parking, footpaths, internal landscaping, noise mitigation measures and sustainable urban drainage systems".

Meanwhile, Unit 2, was described as a "48,634m sq commercial/industrial building".

It was referred to as "a speculative unit which has been designed to suit large, blue chip domestic or international logistics operators".