G-Park Complex Near Ashby Set To Get Green Light: But Town Figures Provide Strong Opposition

By Graham Hill

7th Jan 2021 | Local News

The G-Park complex planned for the outskirts of Ashby is set to be given the go-ahead next week by North West Leicestershire District Council - but there is strong opposition from key figures and organisations in the town.

And the development has been described as a 'monstrous ugly building'.

The area around Corkscrew Lane, where it meets the A511, has been designated for the warehouse site which is set to be built on 48 acres of land - our video above shows the proposed area.

European business builder and logistics company GLP - formerly known as Gazeley - describes the project on its website as: "A 48 acre development site which sits adjacent to the A42 and A511 and provides access to the M42 to the South, and M1 (Junction 23A) 10 miles to the North East.

"The development has been flexibly designed to suit logistics/warehouse opportunities of up to 736,487 sq ft.

"G-Park Ashby's central position within the so-called 'Golden Triangle' for UK logistics in an area in which 90 per cent of the UK can be reached within a four-hour drive - making it easily accessible to all parts of the UK."

The scheme is likely to create around 1,000 jobs - but opponents say there is no need for them, particularly with the East Midlands Gateway already operating at Castle Donington and the new Jaguar Land Rover site already under construction at Appleby Magna.

North West Leicestershire District Council's planning committee meets next Wednesday with a recommendation to allow the development to go ahead.

But there are clear objections to the plan - 38 in all - with Ashby de la Zouch Town Council, Ashby Civic Society, Ashby councillor David Bigby and Coleorton Parish Council all detailing their concerns.

But a planning report will tell next week's meeting: "Having regard to the three dimensions of sustainable development, therefore, and the conclusions in respect of various technical issues set out within this report, it is accepted that the contribution to the economic growth associated with the proposed development, would ensure that the scheme satisfied the economic and social dimensions.

"Insofar as the environmental role is concerned, whilst the proposed development would, have some landscape and visual impacts, the proposed development would not result in any unacceptable impacts on the natural, built or historic environment and will provide for a sustainable travel choice for employees and, as such, (and notwithstanding its location) has the potential to perform reasonably well in terms of need to travel and the movement towards a low carbon economy, subject to the provision of the measures proposed.

"It is therefore concluded that the proposed development would comply with the provisions of the development plan as a whole, and would benefit from the presumption in favour of sustainable development."

The development would be built over two 'zones'.

The first is located in the western portion of the site, adjacent to the HS2 safeguarding land and extends from the A511 to the Midlands Railway Line).

Zone 2 would extend to approximately 2.58 hectares, and is located in the eastern portion of the site adjacent to Corkscrew Lane and would exclusively be used for parking with no built form.

But, Ashby De La Zouch Town Council objects on the following grounds:

  • Highway safety - several points have been raised on this, chiefly with regards to the speed of the road and vehicles having to turn right into the site.
  • Inadequate travel plan
  • Lack of infrastructure to support the anticipated amount of workers walking or cycling. Also removal of the railway sidings.
  • Air quality caused by increase in HGV movements
  • Environmental concerns, specifically on the Gilwiskaw Brook and River Mease

Ashby Civic Society objects on the following grounds:

  • The scale of the development is too large and will have an adverse visual impact;
  • The site is outside the limit of development for Ashby, within the countryside and will result in a further loss of this;
  • The road network will be adversely impacted on and will not be able to accommodate the additional traffic and could cause gridlock;
  • There are too many assumptions regarding the schemes to mitigate the impact of this development on the road network.
  • It is highly unlikely that 17 per cent of employees will walk to the site, there are no footpaths within 300 yards.
  • Travel by bus and cycle is suggested but are highly unlikely;
  • There is no economic sense in this project. The jobs created will not go to residents of the area as unemployment is very low, so why allow such a monstrous ugly building?;
  • There are numerous developments of this type within eight miles of Ashby; and there has been no Environmental Report submitted with the application.

Councillor David Bigby objects to the application on the following grounds:

  • This application does not just move an existing permission a few metres to the East to make room for HS2, it is fundamentally different with the application completely doing away with the rail freight link which was one of the fundamental justifications for locating a warehouse in
this location on the currently undeveloped side of junction 13.

  • The only reason why this site was not returned to its original state after the end of the Lounge opencast site was that it was argued that the sidings should be preserved for a future rail freight facility.

  • The development is outside the Local Plan Limits of Development and extends beyond the area designated for economic development under Local Plan Policy EC1a with completely different access arrangements;

  • The development will have a significant detrimental impact on visual amenity at this important gateway to Ashby;

  • The development is not economically justified - there is currently very little local unemployment (according to our MP) and an over-provision of local warehouse employment, especially with the East Midlands Gateway Development at Castle Donington and the threatened large warehouse site at Appleby Magna. Therefore, it would generate an enormous number of long distance vehicle trips to site by employees from the neighbouring cities;

  • Highway Matters, The means of road access is completely different form the previous permission. Access is now from Corkscrew Lane with no improvements to cater for the heavy goods traffic and additional car movements that will be generated, except at the very entrance to the yard;

  • The proposed road access arrangements are inappropriate and dangerous. Corkscrew Lane has suffered from five accidents in the last five years without Heavy Good Vehicles;

  • The development will have a significant impact on the overloaded A42 junction 13 and the developer's case relies on an upgrade to the A42 which is by no means certain of happening.

  • The Transport Assessment (TA) is full of errors and cannot be trusted as an objective document. The TA claims that cycling would be a viable mode of transport and that 11 per cent of employees would walk or cycle to work, but there are no footpaths and none are proposed

  • Development Control Report along Corkscrew Lane and the Lane is already a highly dangerous route to cycle before the added dangers from HGVs and cars accessing the site; and the TA claims that the site benefits from access by bus, albeit somewhat limited but goes on to state that the nearest bus stop is 2.2km away and that the site can be accessed within 60 minutes by public transport from Bedford.

  • The plan shown in the text is completely wrong and refers to some completely different site. In fact, Loughborough, Kegworth and Markfield are all outside the 60-minute accessibility zone, let alone Bedford.

Coleorton Parish Council objects on the following grounds:

  • Road network is not suitable to carry the volume of HGV/traffic proposed;

  • Increased volume of traffic through the village of Coleorton would be unacceptable if the traffic were to access the A512 for example from or towards M1/Loughborough;

  • The volume of traffic would be an issue on the A512 and A511 around Flagstaff Island, junction 13, A42. (traffic accidents would increase probability ratio - more vehicles more accidents)

  • Volume or traffic / HGV: concerns of safety to pedestrians along the A512, the main route through the village of Coleorton.

  • Clarification on routes HGV and other vehicles accessing and leaving this site will be taking.

     

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