Whitefield Mercedes dealership plans to build on Unsworth nature reserve

Not content with demolishing three perfectly good cottages to make way for 20 “customer car parking spaces” LSH Auto Properties (UK) who own the dealership on Manchester Road have submitted a further planning application for 22 “staff car parking spaces”. This is before the original planning application for customer car parking spaces has even been considered by Bury Council’s planning committee (currently penciled in for this Tuesday 22nd August).

The new planning application can be viewed at the link below:

Change of use of land to form a surface level staff vehicular parking area with 22 no. spaces and… – Mercedes-Benz of Whitefield, 845 Manchester Road, Bury, BL9 9TP

Unfortunately, should the application be granted this would result in the loss of around a third of an acre of greenbelt land. By their own admission, LSH Auto Properties state acknowledge that the land they wish to develop is greenbelt and they have recognised that a number of trees would be ripped down if they were allowed to proceed. They claim in their application that there are “very special circumstances” and urge the council to accept this and grant permission.

The ecological assessment indicates there could be a number of different wildlife species within the site, specifically including Bats, nesting birds, Badgers and Hedgehogs. The Aboricultural report states the site is currently an area of native woodland, locally recognised as a nature reserve. The trees within the nature reserve have been identified as including Ash, Portuguese Laurel, Sessile Oak, Black Poplar, Rowan, Sycamore, and Willow species. Using the reports own words “the removal of this these trees will be of detriment to the arboricultural and ecological values of the site.”

It is my belief this planning application should be refused, since I do not believe the application has met the test for “very special circumstances” in order to allow building on green belt land (the nature reserve). It is also further over-development of the site, notwithstanding there is also a yet to be determined planning application to construct and addition 20 car parking spaces.

Comments from Unsworth residents, are most welcome.



  1. Steve Middleton September 10, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Without wanting to defend LSH in any way, the dealership moved to the site 3 years ago and was subsequently bought out by the current owners after that move had taken place.

    That said, the old site was split over two sides of Bury Old Road whereas the current site is all together in one place. It wouldn’t surprise me if all this was planned when they made the move.

    Ultimately it does not matter what their plans were then or now, they have a viable site which does not need expansion to solve their problems. The parking issue can be alleviated by reducing stock and they already have a turning area for vehicle deliveries (which they don’t use). If the current turning area is inappropriate then they need to use smaller delivery vehicles or move to a more appropriate site.

  2. VTM September 10, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Who on earth at the HQ decided to purchase a site that was obviously so unsuitable they’ve had to demolish houses and now destroy a wildlife habitat?

    Just appalling.

  3. Jennifer Hardman September 4, 2017 at 11:24 am

    What? Another car dealership! Aren’t there enough of these around Bury without destroying greenbelt land and natural habitat for the convenience of a commercial enterprise. Rather short sighted on the part of this company to have a dealership in such a restricted area. Could they not relocate to a brownfield site? There are plenty of those around town.

  4. Jennifer Hardman September 4, 2017 at 11:21 am

    What? Another Car Dealership! Aren’t there enough around Bury without destroying valuable greenbelt land and the natural habitat of wildlife? There are plenty of brownfield sites around town for such a commercial enterprise to relocate to. That is what they should do.

  5. Yvonne Long August 25, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    People of Unsworth/Bury. If you object to this proposal, please log your objection on the link. You will need to register. If we voice our concerns without logging them with the planning committee, they will have no effect. I am one if the residents who didn’t opposes Mercedrs’ original planning proposals because of their assurances that the green corridor would be left untouched. If this proposal is passed, residents of Ajax Drive will fave looking out onto a concrete car park instead of a haven for trees, vegetation and wildlife. Mercedes have been clever and manipulative in applying for planning in ‘small doses’. Bury Council needs to support its residents instead of multi- national, impersonal businesses who are prepared to ride rough-shod over local communiities in pursuit of profit. Please register your dissatisfaction with the planning committee.

  6. Jo August 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    They put floodlights behind the cottages to make it uncomfortable to live then, they paid them off to move – what would anyone do?
    So next time they want to extend, will they move onto the next block of cottages..?
    Deliberate tactics by Mercedez to get what they want. You can tell the site is much too small, but they built a monolith on it anyway knowing they would need to extend, putting in planning applications that they think the council wont be able to refuse because they have the corporate power. Well the council needs to stand up to them.
    If you’ve lived in the local area for 40 years and never noticed the green spaces, the wildlife, blackberries, wild garlic, vast array of birds..then I suggest going for a walk more often. Its all there, for now.

  7. Karina August 21, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I agree, they should have thought of that when the built on the plot. Terrible forward thinking on their part.
    If parking is needed then there are various routes: stock less cars, reallocate space for parking or relocate.

    Just because land is “of no direct benefit to people” (such selfish attitute) doesn’t mean it is ‘waste land’ and does not have it’s own worth. It offers a small nest of respite for wildlife, and is probably the home of thousands if not millions of creatures of many descriptions.
    If you’re only interested in ‘human benefits’, it also offers valuable air pollution neutralisation from the main road.

  8. Glenis Harrison August 20, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Yes me too , ive lived in Unsworth over 40 yrs and this is the first ive heard of a nature reserve !! I bet the owners of the cottages got an offer they couldnt refuse !!

  9. Debbie Measor August 20, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Green belt is Greenbelt. There are no exceptional circumstances. A car park is far from exceptional.

  10. Michael Shields August 20, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Demolished? I’m sure they purchased them and they weren’t given them! Looking at the plans it doesn’t appear that they are too intrusive? Sometimes it seems people want to oppose for the sake of opposing.
    Instead of thinking about the fact a huge Brand are investing in our local area let’s try and drive them out of the area instead eh?

  11. Susan Hopkinson August 20, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    This should not be allowed. The dealership was aware of the constraints on the site before they moved there. Sell up and move to a larger plot elsewhere if it’s not big enough. All green belt land needs preserving.

  12. Jo August 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    They just wrote to residents in the vicinity to acknowledge our concerns about the demolished cottages, they said they wanted to be ‘good neighbours’. Then they do this?! Is it some kind of joke?! They shouldve chosen a different plot in the first place instead of building in a residential area and then twisting the council’s arm with these ridiculous planning applications. And to the gentleman who didnt know there’s a nature reserve but presumex its a wasteland – I assure you its not. There are foxes and deer in the locality and many local residents walk there on a daily basis. There is also the historical value.. all will be under tarmac if these idiots win..again 😡

  13. Michelle Farrell August 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    We use this reserve every day. I am a local resident my child plays there, we walk the dog there. It is a crucial habitat for so many species.

    They can’t be allowed to build on Greenbelt land. This would be heartbreaking.

  14. David Rowlands August 20, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    There are no ‘special circumstances’ whatsoever to be considered.
    With hindsight (which, when building on this plot, they had)they should have considered staff parking and customer parking in their original planning application, and within the boundaries of the original plot.
    If Mercedes of Whitefield now consider this plot to be too small, may I suggest they move to a larger plot ? Also a more convenient plot where constant loading and unloading of vehicles would not disrupt and cause a danger to traffic and pedestrians travelling along Manchester road ?
    The large and empty site that was once the Vue cinema / pizza hut may suit Mercedes of Whitefield a little better?

  15. Carlos August 20, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I welcome this. It’s terribly difficult to park at Mercedes at the moment. So I’m sure the staff have the same issue and are likely having to park on the surrounding streets, annoying residents.

    As for the green belt issue, I have lived in Unsworth my whole life and didn’t know we had a ‘nature reserve’. Although I do know where this is. I’d describe it as wild wasteland, as it is not accessible by people. Plus 1/3 or one acre is nothing.

  16. Norman Taylor August 19, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    They knocked down three beautiful old cottages to build a car park that probably will not be used in 10 years time. “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”

Comments are closed.