Lamborghini plans revealed for Brentwood green belt land

Plans to develop Brentwood green belt land into a care home and major car dealership selling top end Aston Martins and Lamborghinis have been revealed.

Cambria Automobiles, which operates Grange Motors off Mascalls Lane, has released proposals to create a multi-franchise car dealership development, a care home and industrial estate at a site in Brook Street – dubbed Brentwood Gateway Park.

Plans see the site being divided into six individual plots for  a ‘Sui Generis’ automotive retail use, general industrial use, storage and distribution use and care home use.

The existing home of Grange Motors, which sells and repairs Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, McLaren and Rolls Royces across 19 dealerships, is being marketed for sale for housing. It has been allocated as a residential site in  the local plan for around 125 homes to be delivered between 2021 and 2026.

Cambria Automobiles acknowledges that the site is within the green belt but says that given the constraints on sites across Brentwood and the need to develop sites for employment opportunities and new housing, this development will bring a slew of benefits.

The company says development at the site would enable Grange to vacate its current premises in Brook Street, which is no longer fit for purpose. The company is looking to consolidate its existing Aston Martin and Jaguar dealerships in Brentwood, along with the relocation of the Bentley and Lamborghini dealerships from Chelmsford and a new Land Rover dealership, onto the new site.

The firm adds that plans will help replace lost local employment and commercial land that has been eroded by recent ‘permitted development’ of offices to residential use, and it will support the emerging local plan which identifies need for up to 46 hectares of new employment land.

But the plans have been criticised.

William Lambdon, who has lived in Southall Way close to the current garage for more than 40 years, said: “I think it is wrong, this is green belt land and I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.

“It’s right on top of the Brook Street junction where there is loads of traffic there now and there will be loads more.

“They have a big franchise, I can’t see any reason why they should move.

“We have enough housing right here at the moment.

“I don’t agree with all the building that is going in and around Brentwood. I think it’s awful and it is spoiling a really nice area.”

An outline application is expected to be submitted to Brentwood Borough Council for consideration in the autumn of 2020 for determination in early 2021.

If planning approval were granted, further detailed ‘reserved matters’ planning applications for the proposals would be submitted in 2021.

A statement as part of a consultation ahead of a planning application said: “The proposal would see Grange Motors develop a prestigious car dealership development at the Brook Street site entrance.

“The premium brands that would be located on the site require exceptional quality buildings with wide and open frontages to showcase the vehicles on display. The two separate buildings along the Brook Street frontage would house six premium brands, all of which would have a visual presence on the street.

“The frontage will be characterised by a detailed landscaping scheme, which will involve removal of some of the low quality trees along Brook Street and replacement with species that will add considerably to the appearance of the site and surrounding area.

“There will be an area provided for parking/external showcasing of some of the premium vehicles at prominent points along Brook Street; this high-quality landscaped setting will be a key focal point for visitors to Brentwood as they enter the town from the M25/A12.

“It is envisaged that this new “gateway” development will raise the profile of Brentwood and encourage inward investment in the town. The remainder of the site will form a mixture of largely employment uses along with care home use. The location of the site is such that it will appeal to a range of commercial occupiers.

“Given the extent of employment floorspace that has been converted to residential dwellings in recent years, there is an acute shortage of well-located and high-quality mixed employment land in Brentwood.

“The mixed employment uses identified on the remainder of the site are integral to the longer-term aspirations for the development. It is proposed to develop an outline planning application for the proposals.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter