High end car dealership approved for Brentwood green belt land

A car dealership specialising in high end cars – including Lamborghinis and Aston Martins – has been given permission to develop a new base along with 50 new homes next door close to the M25 on green belt land.

This was despite a recommendation from officers and opposition from some members of Brentwood planning committee, including ward member Councillor Tom McLaren, that it would be inappropriate development.

It means Grange Motors can relocate their existing Aston Martin and Jaguar dealerships in London Road to a new site just a few yards away, along with their Bentley and Lamborghini dealerships from Chelmsford and a new Land Rover dealership.

They say this will result in a suite of new showroom and servicing facilities and extra jobs – it currently employs 46 full time roles but intends to expand activity to 170.

Outline plans for 50 homes on adjacent land off Nags Head Lane was also given permission at the same planning committee meeting on February 22. The existing car dealership site will be freed up for development

Grange’s says its current premises at Brook Street are no longer fit for purpose due to the site’s current size and location constraints.

With the acceleration in the provision of electric and hybrid vehicles, manufacturers and legislation has prompted the need to consolidate dealerships across the Grange Group onto one site.

It says “It is therefore envisaged that consolidating dealerships will support the motor industry to meet environmental targets, by replacing existing facilities, which do not comply with these targets and support the changes that electric vehicles will bring to how a modern dealership will operate.

“As a result, a number of sites were considered for the provision of a consolidated dealership with the Brook Street site 200 metres to the west of the current premises identified as the preferred site.

Of particular note is the residential land designation adjacent to the eastern boundary of our site. This adjacent site has been allocated as a residential site for approximately 125 dwellings to be delivered between 2021 and 2026.

It is acknowledged that the site is within the green belt but given the constraints on sites across Brentwood and the need to develop sites for employment opportunities and new housing, this site has been identified as bringing the following benefits and special circumstances for development.”

Planning committee member Coucnuillor Keith Barber said: “In terms of the the reasons for this it’s economic it’s jobs it’s people’s livelihoods this does not make contiguous housing from here from Brentwood to Harold Wood that’s just simply untrue.

“The entrance to our town has been very poor for many years. This is a chance to improve that area.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter