Fury over 24 hour lorry loading plan at Milton Keynes warehouse

Developers have stirred up a hornets’ nest among residents by applying to load and unload lorries for 24 hours a day at a controversial warehouse.

Monday, 28th October 2019, 5:31 pm

Law firm Freeths has told Milton Keynes Council that a limit on HGV hours at the Blakelands warehouse should be lifted because the noise from all-day operation would not justify the restrictions.

Even though Freeths says that its client, GUPI 6, will take extra measures to install anti-noise measures, residents want councillors to throw out the application to change a planning condition that was re-imposed earlier this year.

A spokesman for the Blakelands Residents’ Association said: “Whilst we acknowledge that the developer is allowed to submit an application to vary the conditions of an existing planning permission, we are vehemently opposed to the current application.

A drone's eye view of the Blakelands warehouse
A drone's eye view of the Blakelands warehouse

“There is a clear failure to address the impact on residential amenity that would be caused by allowing HGVs to operate from the warehouse beyond the existing restrictions.”

The spokesman added: “We will be submitting very robust objections in due course, consulting with professionals in lighting, noise and pollution. We believe we have a very strong case and we are confident that the Development Control Committee members will refuse the current application.”

The condition currently restricts lorries to entering, exiting, or operating within the site outside from 7am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and Bank Holidays.

Now the developers want to use 13 of the 18 warehouse loading docks for 24 hours a day, and the others for all daytime hours, from 7am to 11pm on weekdays, weekends, and Bank Holidays.

The Manchester office of Freeths, which also has a base in MK, says, in a statement on MK Council’s planning portal, that “to reassure local residents and members” a noise assessment has been produced. The proposal includes the enclosure of docking bays and adding sound screens.

The 4.4 hectare site is not operating yet but Freeths says “construction is close to completion.”

Once operational, the service yard will be accessed from Yeomans Drive and the employee car parks from an unnamed road to the west

The HGV restriction was one of 12 conditions that were left off the council’s list, in what has been called the authority’s worst planning mistake. It is also the subject of an expert review that is due to report back soon.

The conditions, including the one covering HGVs, were reinstated following discussions between the council and GUPI 6.

Now the developers say that the condition should be lifted because it will “not result in adverse noise pollution” and is not justified. Because it is not justified, it should be removed, they say.

“Its inclusion was contrary to MKC’s officers’ recommendation, who had no objection to a 24/7 operation,” Freeths say.

“It has been demonstrated that the proposed 24/7 operation and the daytime operation at all docks will not be disruptive or intrusive and will not result in an unacceptable risk or have an adverse impact of neighbouring development,” they add.