MPs oppose Chelmsford warehouses plan

Plans for a massive warehouse development in Chelmsford will be “extremely detrimental” to the environment and transport, two neighbouring MPs have claimed.

Pegasus Group on behalf of Greystoke Land Ltd want to develop land around junction 17 of the A12 into warehousing totalling 120,000 square metres over 48 hectares on greenfield land – potentially creating up to 1,600 jobs.

But the application site split over two parcels, currently comprised of a number of fields “defined by mature hedgerows and trees” is not in the adopted local plan which has designated suitable places for employment as well as residential development.

The two parcels located immediately north and east of the major junction connecting Southend and Chelmsford, are each around 24 hectares – located around 600 metres east of the residential edge of the village of Great Baddow.

Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford along with her neighbouring MP John Whittingdale have issued a joint submission to Chelmsford City Council opposing the plans. The area is in Mr Whittingdale’s constituency of Maldon.

Mrs Ford has said she normally does not comment on planning applications but “given the magnitude of this proposal and the fact that it is clearly not appropriate at this site, John Whittingdale and I have written to Chelmsford City Council to set out our concerns regarding this application”.

The northern parcel of land is envisaged to have up to six warehouses ranging from 3,826 to 13,198. The eastern parcel is envisaged to have up to three warehouses ranging from 11758 ro 43278. The building heights vary from 124 and 22m

The letter said: “We are writing to express our deep concern about this proposed development and to strongly request that the authority refuses this planning permission.

“There are very significant concerns from local residents in both our parliamentary constituencies about the potential impact of this proposal, including the traffic, noise and other environmental impacts.

“The proposal to build development of multiple massive warehouses in this location would be extremely detrimental to the environment, nature flooding, pollution as well as transport and infrastructure. It is very clear that the A12 at this junction cannot sustain development of this size.

“Many local residents have raised concerns about the noise impact and the proposed height of the buildings.

“Whilst we are not opposed to creating new job opportunities in principle, it is not clear that there is demand in the local area for a warehousing facility or logistics hub of this magnitude.

“Furthermore, we believe that this application is not in line with the local plan for the area.”

The developers believe they do not consider potential impact to be significant.

An environmental impact assessment application statement said: “There will be a limited number of people who will be affected by the proposal, mainly by landscape and visual impacts. The proposal could directly facilitate in the region of 1,600 jobs on-site with further jobs in the wider supply chain and would make a significant contribution to the local economy.

“Any potential environmental effects will be low level and commensurate with the normal operation and construction of industrial estate development of this type. There would be an increase in HGV traffic movements and increase in noise, particularly during site construction. No likely significant effects and anticipated.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter

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