Planning permission for a new warehouse brings new jobs to Staffordshire

Croft Architecture secure planning permission for a new warehouse to support business growth in Staffordshire

In brief

We are pleased to bring news that planning approval has been granted, following a planning application to create a new purpose-built warehouse in Staffordshire, for a packaging company that’s the market leader for manufacturing, importing and distributing polymer-based products for the industrial packaging market.

As part of their expansion plans our client agreed an option to purchase two pieces of land from two separate land holders with the option expiring on a given date. We were appointed by our client, to transform two parcels of empty land to design a new warehouse facility to support their business growth.

As time was of the essence, they required our help to submit an application very quickly to secure permission from the local authority in order to give them confidence to proceed with the purchase of the site and of course to further develop the design.

In Context

Over the years the company has grown from their humble beginnings from stock being stored in our client’s back garden shed and delivered to customers in just one small van, to the much larger warehouse premises that they have today in the West Midlands.

As the business continues to thrive, the existing warehouse facilities needed to expand, to maintain the exceptional customer service that they currently provide and to have the capacity to gain new clients, expand their range, and develop their business further by moving premises and growing further.

Our client serves blue chip clients worldwide and currently has the capacity to deliver over 300,000 tonnes of film per annum, 600 million square meters of tape and 1,000,000 kilometres of PET and Polypropylene strapping throughput!

They produce millions of quality plain and printed cases, boxes and fitments across thousands of different specifications each year. 

Design Approach

It’s extremely important for client that all packaging stays dry. They need warehouse facilities that are good quality in terms of keeping the rain out, and not causing condensation issues that creates moisture in the air. A lot of the packaging is cardboard, but there are other materials that are moisture sensitive too. Because of the sheer volume of the amount stock the company will hold at any given time they require a large amount of storage space as the packaging is very bulky and so they need a lot of room in terms of volume.

Our Approach

Time was at the forefront of our teams’ minds at the outset of the project. We were all extremely eager to get the project started to meet with the clients impending land option deadline. We knew that we needed to work swiftly to successfully acquire the relevant permissions to confirm the projects viability for their scheme to progress any further.

The main aim of the project for our client was to provide essential new warehouse space and facilities to develop its current business operations and to provide an ideal logistics location for their business expansion.  

The importance of the decision to proceed with purchase of the plots is interlinked with other sites whereby our client will be able to obtain various business benefits as result of a successful planning application for this project. The scheme is part of their overall growth strategy and this site is key.

Therefore, the pressure was certainly on our team to deliver the required results within the approaching deadline for them to secure their site option. With this in mind it was very important to achieve a successful planning outcome for their business upon the first submission. There was no time available for a second attempts for a successful planning approval. Because of the restrictive time scales, we recommended proceeding with an outline application.

An outline planning application requires a limited amount of information in comparison to a full planning application. We advised our client that this was the best approach in order to be able to deliver planning results within the time frame. We advised our client that an outline application would be a 13-week process. At the outset of the project we made the planners aware of our clients’ timescales to allow us to work together for the benefit of the client and the local area.

Unfortunately the case officer decided very late on in the application that they were not going to determine the submission in the confirmed 8 weeks that they had told us, and that it was now going to be determined within due course in the 13 weeks as foretold, because they were going on holiday.

This was a delay that our client could not afford. We then made the decision to call upon the chief planner of the local authority to ask for their support to rectify the situation.  We explained what had gone before and that this project was imperative for the local economy in terms of job creation and new business to the region, and that we needed their urgent help to bring about a happy conclusion.

Within two days of contacting the chief planning officer they had gone through the application and various aspects of it in order to deliver a decision on the application. The planner’s decision was to permit, but the wildlife report delaying the approval.

A wildlife survey has reported a cause for further investigation. During the time that the wildlife survey was produced the area had experience a lot of heavy rain and there was a clause in the report that said, there’s a large area of surface water on site and frogs have spawned in the water and it may be prudent to test for newts as well.

Upon hearing this news from the chief planning officer contacted our MD, Carl Croft, who immediately started on a journey by car to the nearest location to obtain a newt testing kit.

If newts were detected on site, we would then not be able to deliver the required approval to allow our client enough time to progress their option on the land.

Whilst Carl Croft was on route to hastily acquire the newt testing kit the chief planner had been to visit the site and seen that the puddle had dried up and no longer existed. This was excellent news as there was no possibility that there were newts on site.

Ultimately, we got the planning permission for our client and we’re very grateful that the chief planner and his team at the planning department, who worked with us in order to deliver it within the deadline.

The permission is good news for first and foremost our client, but also Staffordshire as a whole. The development means inward investment into the area, to the local authority and there is the potential for over 50 new jobs for the region.

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