EASTERN Gateway campaigners have voiced their dismay after Stratford planners gave the go-ahead for the first stages of a massive warehouse complex on the northern half of the Gorcott Hill development.
The site is so big it has docking bays for 121 heavy goods vehicles, parking for 127 more, 475 car park spaces and even three bus stops.
“They seemed to take no notice of the fact the junction for it will be 100metres from Winyates Green residents,” said campaigner Len Quartly.
“It will be traffic light controlled so there will be HGVs stopping and starting there – the noise, the air pollution, the light pollution, 24 hours a day.”
He added that approval meant ancient hedgerows would be ripped out, centuries old trees axed and Blacksoil Brook, the boundary between Bromsgrove and Stratford Districts, re-routed.
“They said a lot of things would be done to mitigate the size of this development by camouflaging it but it’s going to take some real innovation to lessen the damage being done,” he said.
Stratford District Councillor Justin Kerridge (Con, Studley and Mappleborough Green) acknowledged the proposed single, massive distribution warehouse was ‘the worst case scenario’.
Coun Kerridge, who would normally chair the district’s West Planning Committee, stepped aside on the Gateway application as it is within his ward, but still put his point across.
“One huge distribution centre is the worst case scenario – we had been hoping for something smaller and more tech based,” he said.
“The routing strategy that was undertaken took account of such a worst case scenario so it was impossible to use that as a valid planning argument.”
However he said in terms of time, routing suggestions on Google Maps consistently sent traffic north to junction 3 of the M42 or along the Bromsgrove Highway to the M5 rather than south.
But he did acknowledge that HGVs travelling to Evesham or the Cotwolds would probably rejoin the A435 at Spernall and then go through Coughton and Kings Coughton.
“One thing we can do is look for a voluntary routing agreement that vehicles will not use a specific route,” he said.
“An advantage of dealing with one single company is that there is only one point of contact to reach such an agreement.”
He added that pledges to improve green space and biodiversity and reduce the site’s visual impact provided insufficient grounds to refuse the applicaition.
Redditch Borough planners will consider the planning application this Monday, March 18.
Bromsgrove planners delegated the decision to their head of planning last Monday.