13th Nov, 2019

Redditch set to be automotive centre for Pilkington after plans approved

Harry Leach 19th Jul, 2019

PLANS to extend and remodel Redditch’s Pilkington Factory have been given the go ahead despite public outcry.

Hoveton Close residents, who live by the Old Forge Drive factory in Greenlands, were left visibly shaken after the application was granted by Redditch Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, July 17.

NSG Group, which owns Pilkington, will relocate its manufacturing operations from Kings Norton and combine it with its distribution operation in Redditch, making the town the sole operational location for their UK Automotive business.

The move will see an additional 140 car parking spaces and 6,693 square metres of floorspace built as the Kings Norton site, said NSG, is ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

At the meeting, Hoveton Close resident Lindsay Alexandra said: “Much has been made about how the move will lead to more jobs in Redditch but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

“Most of the staff will be transferred from the Kings Norton site, and the rest will be made up with agency staff.

“We are seriously concerned about the increase in noise pollution, people coming and going and HGVs using the Studley Road.

“Not only that but we have already noticed extension work taking place on the site, so the developers must have been very confident the application would be backed.”

Residents say lorry drivers often go down Hoveton Close by mistake, thinking it’s an entry to the factory, when it is in fact a cul-de-sac.

Council officers said they had received 54 letters of complaint about the application, and admitted it’s likely not all Hoveton Close residents were contacted during the public consultation.

In the letters, residents raised concerns over visual impact, increased traffic, noise and light pollution, their privacy being compromised and damage to wildlife.

Coun Joe Baker (Lab, Greenlands) said: “We all know the Studley Road is already a dangerous area in Greenlands.

“With both St Bede’s Catholic School and Woodfield Academy nearby, rush hour traffic is a complete nightmare.

“Now just imagine more traffic than ever passing through.”

Delta Planning’s director David Green, speaking on behalf of NSG, said: “I’m sorry to see so many residents are upset.

“The building’s fabric will be scaled up to stop the breakout of noise, and I’m convinced there will not be an increase in HGVs in the area because it’s not a warehouse.

“This project will retain jobs and is a good move for Redditch.”

Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said: “This is exciting new for the town’s economy because it will create new opportunities and support well-paid, good jobs.

“This decision proves Redditch is a great place to do business and will ensure our town is at the heart of UK manufacturing and production.”

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