Removal of HCV Cap at Andover ‘Business’ Park
|APPLICANT:||Goodman Real Estate (UK) Ltd|
|PROPOSAL:||Modify the planning obligation associated with Planning Permission 09/02392/OUTN by removal of Part II of Schedule 6 regarding HCV Traffic Demand Management systems|
|SITE:||Andover Business Park, Monxton Road, Andover|
Pete Parfrey, as a representative of Monxton Parish Council, attended a meeting of the Northern Area Planning Committee at TVBC Beechurst offices on 17th November where the application by Goodmans to remove the limit of 85 HCVs per hour was heard and considered.
It was interesting to hear Goodmans state that the current figure is only 41 HCVs per hour, and that their projections show they will not reach the 85 limit, despite building ever larger distribution, units requiring many heavy vehicle movements, such as the new ‘Angle 340’. The following statement is taken from their website today, “Global integrated property group, Goodman, can confirm work is underway on a state-of- the-art 336,300 sq ft industrial distribution unit at Andover Business Park”
They stated that they needed to remove the cap because of the way they had (over) allocated HCV slots in their leases, for instance, The Chalkhill Blue had been allocated 7 slots when they only needed one.
There were a large number of well-considered written objections from several local Parish Councils, including Monxton, and a representative from Abbots Ann spoke strongly against the motion. Monxton Parish Council also spoke against the motion. However, a representative from Goodmans dismissed the Parish Councils and residents statements as “not understanding” the application.
The objections were well supported by a number of local councillors, and the great majority of those who spoke were strongly against removing the cap. These councillors pointed out that, in order to secure the original planning permission,Goodmans had freely entered into an agreement with TVBC and thus agreed to the original restrictions.
It is worth noting that Highways England and HCC based their lack of objection solely on figures relating to the strategic highways network, and the only reference to local impact was to say that local villages are protected by the ANPR system. Pete Parfrey was one of a number of those present who pointed out that any system which is out of operation for over a year and a half in order to carry out repairs, cannot be regarded as a reliable or effective safeguard. There is also a lack of transparency, in that the system appears to rely on those who stand to be penalised to implement it.
The application was duly defeated, at which point the planning officer stated that this was both a technical and legal issue, and that councillors had to provide robust evidence that the cap was “serving a useful purpose”. She also, rather worryingly, stated that Goodmans had received planning permission for a “warehouse development”.
This is very different to the original application, which was for for a “Mixed Business Park”, with some warehousing, as illustrated in the Goodmans promotional video shown to councillors by planning officers at that original hearing.
Understandably, the councillors pointed out that they were not legal experts, giving TVBC the opportunity, once more, to refer the matter to TVBC’s Planning Control committee.
This is a re-run of the process which allowed the original application, which was also rejected locally , to be passed at a later date by Planning Control.
There is a very strong feeling locally that relaxing this condition would mark the beginning of a ‘slippery slope’, and seriously undermine trust and confidence in the planning system. What is the point of fighting for and agreeing restrictions, only to see them subsequently removed? If we are to have any influence on the outcome of this, and further applications, (which may well already be in the pipeline), we will need a co-ordinated show of force and support from affected local villages.
The next meeting is at 5.30pm on 20 December in Conference Room 1, Council Offices, Beech Hurst, Weyhill Road, Andover. The meeting is open to the public.
The agenda for the meeting, which includes the officers’ report for this application, will be available from 1.00pm at Customer Services, Romsey 5 clear working days before the meeting, or Customer Services at the Beech Hurst offices in Andover. Additionally a copy of the agenda is available for viewing on the Council’s website (www.testvalley.gov.uk/view-applications). Any update report will be available from 5.00pm on the day of the meeting at the committee.