Planners have given permission for another warehouse to be built near homes despite fears that it would be a repeat of the “Blakelands fiasco.”
DHL Real Estate UK Ltd has the green light to build an 18m-tall 24 hour/365 days a year distribution warehouse on land off Lizard Drive, close to Tatternhoe Park.
The application, which is expected to create the equivalent of 236 full time jobs, was decided by planning officers without going to elected councillors after no-one triggered the call in process.
No representations were received from ward councillors and Shenley Brook End and Tattenhoe Parish Council said it had no comments to make on the application.
But residents living close to the five hectare grassland site in Snelshell East were mostly livid. One was generally supportive but others who responded were not.
Kevin Stokes said: “What we don’t want is a repeat of the Blakelands fiasco.”
Developers in Blakelands were allowed to knock down a warehouse, build a bigger one, and change its layout so it would be closer to residents. Councillors who permitted it have since regretted their decision.
Among many communications with the planning department, Carrie Le Croissette said: “Tattenhoe is renowned and well loved for it’s vast green areas, enjoyed by many people on a daily basis.
“It is just abhorrent that consideration is being given to destroying this by lumping a huge distribution warehouse right in the heart, bringing noise, light and air pollution into this beautiful area, not to mention directly into the back gardens and homes of many residents.”
And Martin Furminger could not comprehend why “industrial units such as these or any other have to be placed in such close proximity to residential areas.
“It shows little consideration for such residents who surely are entitled to live in amenable areas.”
Racheal Shaw said she had only just moved into her property and the prospect of development had not appeared in a search. She said: “We bought our house mainly because of its peaceful location and that it is quiet and tucked away and we have paid a premium to do so. This was also not found in the searches to the property which I find unbelievable.”
But in a comprehensive report, council senior planning officer David Buckley said the council’s policy, set out in Plan:MK, is that the land has been identified for employment land use. Plan:MK, which is the local planning bible for developers and the council, was adopted earlier this year.
The council consults with its own specialist officers over issues such as biodiversity, landscaping, design and site layout. But Mr Buckley did not find anything that made it possible to refuse the application.
Mr Buckley wrote: “While the impact on the linear park is acknowledged, it is not considered that the impact would be overbearing to an unacceptable degree. As an allocated site for employment development it is considered that some visual impact is acceptable in this context.”
Construction of the new warehouse will mean the destruction of a “species rich” hedgerow, leading to an estimated 54.57 per cent loss of local biodiversity.
However, the developer is proposing a number of measures to protect what is left on the site, and the council will receive a payment of £280,148 to spend on wildlife projects elsewhere in the borough.
And in terms of lorries coming on and off the site, Mr Buckley said: “On basis of the predicted HGV traffic movements, the noise from operational activities is not predicted to cause disturbance to nearby residents.
“The proposal is considered acceptable subject to planning conditions and legal agreement.”