PLANNING permission has been granted for a tree nursery in a Cheshire village – despite numerous objections from residents.

Warrington Borough Council has approved a planning application to develop the land in Grappenhall, which is bounded by the Bridgewater Canal and Church Lane and sits in the green belt and conservation area.

Developers will grow sapling trees in an area of around 2.6 acres, while the rest of the four-acre plot would be used to sell them. Two shipping containers will be added to the currently empty field.

Dozens of objections were sent to Warrington Borough Council. Residents said they were worried about the impact on the green belt, Grappenhall village and road safety – especially when the nearby St Wilfrid’s Primary School is open.

One said: “Four times each school day large numbers of children & families walk the narrow footpath between Stanney Lunt Bridge and St Wilfrid’s School in Grappenhall village. Such is the limitation of the footpath individuals and groups walking in opposite directions are forced to step into the roadway to permit each other to pass.

“The introduction of an access crossing point over the footpath for truck and trailer towing vehicles and other traffic would create a serious hazard on an already sensitive and hazardous route.”

Planning documents submitted to Warrington Borough Council said: “This will be a commercial operation and the trees are to be sold from the site.

“However, sales will be to the general public and not to commercial trade clients.

“This will be a small-scale sustainable use of the site which will enhance the local economy.”

As well as the planting, a small office, polytunnel and containers will be added to the land.

The nursery would be open seven days a week, with opening hours of 9.30am until 4.30pm.

The development would require the removal of part of the existing hedgerow on Church Lane, but developers say they will replace it on a like-for-like basis.

Letters of support for the application praised the environmental benefits of the scheme.

It was approved by a council planning officer earlier this month.

The documents added: “We believe this proposal is a natural enhancement of the conservation area and will preserve the economic vitality of the area.

“The proposal seeks to make use of an under-utilised area with a suitably ecologically and sustainable use while providing a small-scale business which will create employment generation for the area.”

This story first appeared in the Warrington Guardian.

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