PLANS for a massive expansion of a Middlewich industrial estate - and the creation of the town's long-awaited bypass - moved one step closer this week.
Members of Congleton Borough Council's planning committee approved construction company Pochin's Midpoint 18 Phase 3 Draft Development Brief last Tuesday night.
It sets out planning requirements for the third and final phase of the Midpoint 18 Business Park development, and Pochin divisional director Brian Reay hopes it will smooth its application for the expansion through the planning process.
He said: 'This was a rubber-stamping exercise but we are delighted to have the support of the council.
'While one must not be too presumptuous about planning, this is an important scheme for the town and we believe the application is fully in accordance with the development brief.'
Pochin's application to develop a 35-hectare site south of Cledford Lane and an 18-hectare site at New Farm, Booth Lane, the former for employment, the latter for employment, leisure and tourism, will go before planners in the next few months.
Mr Reay said: 'We are in the hands of the planning authority and it will need some time to digest what is a huge amount of information from the development brief. But we would obviously like the application to be determined as soon as possible.'
Middlewich Cllr Simon McGrory, a member of the planning committee, said: 'Everyone has had their input to the development brief, from councillors to the residents, and we are finally getting somewhere which can only be good news for Middlewich.
'It's going to be a big industrial development but a range of issues have been addressed to make it a softer impact on the area.
'There is also the inclusion of an arch-aeological brief to protect the Roman, Norman and medieval heritage so we can rediscover, remove and document every find before the building work begins, which has not happened before.'
Pochin said the final phase of the park would include distribution, production, office and hotel facilities, bringing new business opportunities and employment to the area. Funding from the development would also help pay for the bypass which will link Pochin Way to Booth Lane at Tetton Bridge.
Plans for the bypass were approved last year, but Pochin has submitted a revised application following opposition from residents around Cledford Lane, who would have been cut off from the rest of town. It is also seeking new access to and from the industrial estate.