Borough planners refuse to fully commit to Eastern Gateway project due to 'lack of transparency' - The Redditch Standard

Borough planners refuse to fully commit to Eastern Gateway project due to 'lack of transparency'

Redditch Editorial 19th Mar, 2019 Updated: 20th Mar, 2019   0

THE Redditch Eastern Gateway’s development ran into a delay last night after Borough planners refused to fully commit to the project.

Councillors put the brakes on plans for a massive building on the north side of the project on Monday, March 18, after the representative for developer Stofords refused to reveal the name of their client who may, or may not, want a large single warehouse on the site.

“There’s just not enough transparency,” said Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill), “At this point we’re not sure if the applicant is definitely committed to occupying the site.

“How can we make the decision to start development – which would involve ripping down trees – when we don’t even know the full scope of what it will be? Or who the applicant is?

“And issues surrounding the project, including the destruction of the woodland area, the noise, light and air pollution and the heavy traffic caused by HGVs coming into Redditch still remains a serious worry.

“I’m not convinced residents won’t be affected by this.”

Eastern Gateway plans were rubber stamped, in principle, last year, but members were concerned on Monday night over the proposals put before them.

These would see ancient hedgerows ripped out, centuries old trees axed and Blacksoil Brook, the boundary between Bromsgrove and Stratford Districts, re-routed.

The planning committee says it will take a look at the proposals again, most likely after the local elections in May, to discuss traffic management, routing and how to maintain the woodland area – by which time the applicant may be known.

This is unlike Bromsgrove District Council which delegated the decision to its head of planning – and Stratford which has already given the go-ahead for the first stage of the massive warehouse complex.

Coun Mike Rouse (Con, Church Hill) said: “Whoever wants to occupy the site will need to bring their full and final plans back for further consideration.

“I remain unconvinced the Redditch Eastern Gateway is delivering on its promise to be a game-changing site that will deliver hi-tech job opportunities for the people of Redditch.

“Instead this is starting to feel a lot like a classic ‘bait and switch’ sales tactic.

“We have now given whoever the mystery applicant is, an opportunity to convince us all otherwise.”

Coun Hartnett added: “When this site was first discussed four years ago it was in terms of a development of high quality, high skilled jobs.

“It was hoped it would not be what we currently have before us – a proposal for large warehouse and distribution centre.”

The huge site has docking bays for 121 heavy goods vehicles, parking for 127 more, 475 car park spaces and three bus stops.

“This plan is five times the original application,” said campaigner Len Quartly of Winyates Green Residents Association, “The distribution centre will have a devastating affect on those living in the area.

“Not only will residents be affected by the unacceptable levels of noise and pollution, but the warehouse will also be a complete eyesore.

“I call on all members to take a trip to Far Moor Lane, which is close to the junction on highway A4023, before they make their final decision.”

A spokesperson for Gateway developer Stoford said: “The application is a game-changer for the local economy.

“It’s a sustainable development and the public benefit will far outweigh any harm.”


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