THE Redditch Eastern Gateway has come to dominate the news agenda in the last few months.
Back in January the then MP for Redditch Karen Lumley was paying a site visit to the land in question, an 80 acre triangle bounded on one side by the A435 at Gorcott Hill and dissected by the A4023 Coventry Highway.
“I’m very excited by this project,” said Mrs Lumley, “and it’s very good news for the people of Redditch, a game-changer.
“Obviously there are people who have concerns but we have got to move forward and bring hi-tech jobs to Redditch.”
Two issued loomed large though – the flow of traffic, particularly juggernauts and commuters to and from the site, and the sheer size of the warehouses proposed, some 21metres in height.
And that was before the light and air pollution, visual impact and destruction of green fields and habitats was considered.
A ‘routing plan’ promised not to send traffic down the already overloaded A435 through Mappleborough Green, Studley and around Alcester and a bond of £200,000 was put up by the developers to deal with any road issues.
Councillor Maureen Berry of Mappleborough Green parish council said: “They say there will be ‘no severe’ increase in traffic, yet if that is the case why do they need hundreds of car parking spaces? And that’s before you factor in the impact of the HGVs.”
There was also concern about re-routing traffic through Redditch’s extensive network of roads.
District councillor Justin Kerridge (Con, Studley North) said: “Traffic impact studies have been done and these say there will be ‘no significant’ increase in HGVs on the road system south through Studley.
“Leaving aside what exactly ‘no significant’ means, with the road already causing distress any more traffic would be harmful whether or not it is significant.”
Meanwhile the residents in Longhope Close in Winyates Green said they are the ‘forgotten people’ of the development.
“This is going to be literally on our doorstep, and the developers have ridden roughshod over our concerns,” said resident Bill Skermer.
“There’s going to be sheds 21 metres high – we won’t see the sun come up until mid-morning.”
“Redditch has low unemployment who’s to say people from Redditch will get the jobs anyway? Which means they are going to have to drive to get there. We are furious.”
The land for the Gateway lies in Bromsgrove and Stratford districts with just a thin sliver of land in Redditch. This month Bromsgrove planners, more interested in the fate of the £200,000 than the development, approved it, Redditch last week voted to give delegated powers of approval to its planning chiefs, while only Stratford voted to defer it.
Here there were concerns about traffic flow and volumes, the size of the traffic bond offered by the developers, the enforceability of the ‘routing plan’ and the size of the warehouses.
However residents are braced for its approval when the plan goes back to council in 2018.