Airport's need for 800 space car park in Styal green belt under question

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Councillors have refused to grant Manchester Airport planning permission for a new 800 space car park within the Green Belt in Styal until more information is provided, as they are not convinced that the airport has no other options.

Members of the Northern Planning Committee voted to defer the application for a new car park on Moss Lane in Styal, which lies within the with the operation area of Manchester Airport, on Wednesday, 14th August, requesting "additional information from the applicant to explain the necessity of this car park structure and that there are no alternatives to show the business case that there are no other practical alternatives to taking this piece of land out of the Green Belt."

Manchester Airport are seeking planning permission to demolish two properties on Moss Lane and their associated outbuildings in order to construct an extension to their existing car park which will provide an additional 800 spaces. The car park would operate 24 hours a day, and customers will self-park and then board buses to the terminals.

Speaking after an initial vote to approve the application (where 4 for members voted in favour, 5 against and 2 abstained) Councillor Andrew Gregory said "The reason is that very special circumstances put forward have not been made out to my satisfaction.

"Those special circumstances being the fact that the airport has only this opportunity to create additional car parking, I don't accept that. Secondly, as I understand the reasons for special circumstances are to reduce the number of what is described as 'kiss and fly' visits to the airport, again I don't accept that as a being a special circumstance to justify why we could depart from the usual principles and rules on safeguarding our Green Belt."

Councillor Nick Mannion said "The reason why I couldn't support this is this is a commercial decision by the airport and I don't think they are offering up enough in return for that for the damage. They're taking land out of the Green Belt, they are going to concrete over land."

He added "I have not been convinced there are no other options to concreting over this piece of the Green Belt. I am not convinced this is the only deliverable option. I am not talking about commercial I am talking about practical now. They want to extend what is already an enormous car park which they control, they manage, they provide the shuttle bus to and from."

In a second vote members of the Northern Planning Committee voted in favour of deferring the proposal (with 9 votes in favour, 1 against and 1 member abstaining) requesting "additional information from applicant to explain the necessity of this car park structure and that there are no alternatives" to show the business case and that there are no other practical alternatives to taking this piece of land out of the Green Belt.

The proposal is considered to be an inappropriate form of development in the Green Belt, which reduces openness, encroaches into the countryside, and contributes to the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas.

However, the planning officer recommended the application for approval having taking into account the considerations in favour of the proposal, which included the applicant's strategy to reduce the amount of kiss and fly / taxi journeys to the airport, the limitations of the existing public transport services, the operation of existing on site car parking facilities at capacity during the summer months, and the reduction of third party off site car parking options over recent years which are considered to demonstrate that the car park is necessary for the operational efficiency and amenity of the airport.

Photo: View North from Moss Lane.

Manchester Airport, Styal


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Pete Taylor
Friday 16th August 2019 at 4:37 pm
What about the Former (brownfield) Ferranti site and the unused fields adjacent? These are IN MANCHESTER!
Nick Jones
Friday 16th August 2019 at 5:24 pm
Yes Pete.. but its not Green belt .. that has more value and less preparation cost ...The extensive car parking at Wilmslow Road Hale, Runger Lane,Thorley Lane, and the Multi Storeys on Manchester Airport relief Road aren't enough !! The Airport City development from Wilmslow Road, across Sunbank Lane towards the M56 Dunham / Lymm turnoff is expanding at a fair rate of knots .. I think there is a bit of greed here and opportunity here to challenge a previously poorly performing CEC planning dept.. And CEC doesnt get a penny from the Airports Group.... The Manchester councils do...!.. its a cash cow !! Without considering air pollution,( look at the extra HGVs now using the Airport City site ) or Brownfield / development of their existing sites ... This needs to be carefully managed as a serious infringement against Green Belt ..
Look at Heathrows 3rd runway.. and once again Alexander Boris de-Pfeffel Johnsons hollow objections and AWOL status re same... I hope CEC are robust enough to challenge this.
james faulkner
Saturday 17th August 2019 at 2:01 pm
The airport owners should build more multi-story car parks on land within the city boundary instead of a business park, it makes the same if not more money, at 60gbp per day that any office block. Green belt means Green belt. There is now no green belt inside Manchester.
Richard Armstead
Saturday 17th August 2019 at 4:57 pm
Surprised to see such limited interest and comment on an issue that sees yet another slice of the green belt endangered. This area is one of the remaining frontiers protecting both Styal and Wilmslow from an ever extending concrete jungle.

Come on Mr. CE councillor, pin your colours to the mast.
David Smith
Sunday 18th August 2019 at 5:03 pm
I'm still planning my response Richard.
A posting on Nextdoor might generate some interest as it covers the Lacey Green ward which includes Styal.
Roger Bagguley
Sunday 18th August 2019 at 7:56 pm
It is good to see our councillors sending applications back and not just accepting that loss of green belt is inevitable as the airport, in this case, marches on in pursuit for growth. Those planning our future have to come up with better solutions as to how cars are parked and how passengers arrival and departure experiences can be less onerous, at the same time resolving the volume of traffic moving through the airport itself.

Concreting over the green belt is not the only solution. Styal must not become a terminal 4.
Sheila Grindrod
Thursday 22nd August 2019 at 12:47 am
This is yet another grab for GREEN BELT when will it end, everything soon will be covered in concrete. There is absolutely no reason why they cannot have car park on brownfield sites in the Manchester area or convert existing car parks into multi storey. I hope that this Council stands up and protects our future environment (both in nature and in the way we live). FINGERS CROSSED I wanted a bit of a break from protesting against all this construction in and around all of this area, just like the land needs a rest from all of this disruption exacerbating the flooding issues.
Robert Taylor
Thursday 22nd August 2019 at 6:27 am
The main thing which struck me about the airport is the vast amount of surface parking surrounding it, perhaps larger than the airport itself.
The alternative is to provide multi storey car parking on existing airport carpark land. In suggesting this as an alternative this proposal is contrary to national and local planning policies.
A second alternative would be to improve rail connections into the airport both the service frequencies and the links from the airport station into the terminals and refuse planning permission for all these private parking sites.
Andrew Backhouse
Thursday 22nd August 2019 at 9:14 am
I'm glad the council sent it back because it is greenbelt - but fundamentally, we need to reduce airport use if we are going to tackle climate change, and anyone who uses the airport needs to be pushed to using the train. Why aren't the Airport supporting more frequent trains to the airport from the south, and cheaper trains too?
Simon Worthington
Thursday 22nd August 2019 at 9:41 am
The airport is a complete ****hole and embarrassment. It has swallowed up large areas of Cheshire to little benefit of residents. They should build extensive underground parking and rue the day they allowed hotels to build so close and on now very valuable land.
Mind you given the actions of the Swedish useful idiot (see Sunday Times) we won't be flying much in the future.
Randal MacRandal
Thursday 22nd August 2019 at 10:02 am
This is a 'creeping' strategy on the part of the Airport's planning advisors. The more green belt they can absorb now for what I've heard called flat-bed car parking (i.e. not multi story) the more space they have nabbed for future, including unforeseen, expansion plans of any sort. An earlier commentator touched on the dubious economics of mopping up huge tracts of land to the south, east and west of the terminals only to park one 'layer' of cars on it. As per Altrincham Road, Sunbank Lane, Thorley Lane and Styal Road.
The Cheshire East Borough boundary needs to be robustly defended.
Pippa Jones
Tuesday 3rd September 2019 at 7:55 am
Please don’t refer to Greta Thunberg as “the Swedish useful idiot”. She is an extraordinarily courageous young woman who understands the science and realises that real action has to be taken now to protect the planet. Denigrating her because she is young, female, on the autistic spectrum or just different from you is unfair. You may disagree with her tactics and think there’s a better way to tackle the climate emergency but please afford her some respect. Thank you.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 3rd September 2019 at 1:39 pm
@ Pippa Jones,

Quite right.

Greta Thunberg has done more to focus peoples attention on the effects of Climate Change than a succession of political leaders....including Caroline Lucas.
Russell Young
Saturday 7th September 2019 at 6:29 pm
Weren't those eye watering drop off/pick up charges being justified by claiming it would discourage car use ?. And here they are doing completely the opposite.
Hypocrisy and greed, nothing more.