Plans for electric battery factory at Coventry Airport approved by district council
By James Smith
13th Jan 2022 | Local News
Plans to build an electric car battery factory at Coventry Airport have been given the go ahead by Warwick District Council's planning committee.
After a four-hour planning meeting councillors approved a recommendation that will see Coventry Airport levelled and a 125-hectare gigafactory built.
In approving the plans, the council has given special permission for the factory to be built on green belt land.
Both public speakers and councillors raised concerns about possible hazards and health risks to local residents.
But in response WDC Development Manager Gary Fisher said: "A planning permission is only part of the jigsaw. One of the other key elements is the Hazardous Substances Consent.
"To progress with this development, the developer would need both the planning permission and the HSC."
Questions were also raised about the fact no developer for the site has been announced yet, and that figures in the application were estimates.
Cllr Terry Morris also said granting approval could risk "development by stealth" on the site.
"There has been a lot of talk about a gigafactory, but effectively this application is to build infrastructure for general industry. If planning permission is granted, that is what is granted.
"Officers are saying don't worry about that because we can apply conditions that say 'it must be used as a gigafactory'.
"I have the upmost confidence in our planning processes, but less confidence in our conditions and how watertight they are. So what is our confidence in the condition that 'it will only be used as a gigafactory' is worth the paper it is printed on?"
But the plans, which have been backed by local MPs and the Mayor of the West Midlands, were approved by councillors.
Speaking in support of the plans Cllr Oliver Jacques said: "Considering the key points around; is it an appropriate site? Is there there need? Is the scale of the design appropriate? I am personally satisfied, so I propose that we go along with officers' recommendations."
Planning permission must also be granted by Coventry City Council and the plans may examined before the Secretary of State before the development can begin.
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