Objections as application submitted for multi-million-pound Peterborough logistics hub to create over 4000 jobs

Objections have been raised after a planning application has been submitted for a new multi-million-pound logistics hub near Peterborough.

By Ben Jones
Monday, 11th April 2022, 5:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 1:00 pm
An aerial view of the A1 West development.
An aerial view of the A1 West development.

Plans for ‘A1 West’ at junction of the A1 (west of the A1 and north of the A605) were first revealed to the public in November last year but now Newlands Developments have now submitted their plans to Huntingdonshire District Council.

The hybrid planning application is seeking approval for:

- The demolition of two dwellings, outbuildings and related structures, the creation of access from the A605

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Site map.

- Highway works to Oundle Road Junction 17 of the A1(M)

- Associated site infrastructure works compromising groundworks and internal access and strategic landscaping

- Creation of development plateaus and diversion of underground water pipes

- Outline permission for the construction of industrial distribution units with ancillary offices

How the new warehouses could look.

There are plans for five large distribution units, with associated HGV parking and service yards.

The application invisages the creation of 4232 new jobs on the completed site.

The proposed hub, which has been drawn up by the same developers behind Peterborough Gateway at Alwalton Hill, sits on a 256-acre (103.71 hectares) site within the administrative area of Huntingdonshire District Council. A small part of the application site boundary, comprising highways land at Oundle Road and Junction 17 of the A1(M) falls within the jurisdiction of Peterborough City Council.

The site would be accessed directly from the A605 via a reconfigured roundabout.

Peterborough Civic Society are among those that have objected to the application, however, describing the development as ‘unsustainable.’

Among the concerns that have been raised are the adverse visual impacts the development would have, the fact that the site lies within the immediate economic and employment context of Peterborough, potentially leading to an imbalance in the planned growth of the district, the fact that “for many tens of thousands of travellers to, and passing by Peterborough, this site will be

their first impression of the city. It will not be a favourable one. Instead of buildings of individual and local character they will see large metal clad boxes common to industrial areas throughout the UK and the rest of Europe. It will not say “Peterborough – A Unique City” it will more than likely say “Welcome to Anywheresville.”

Councillor Simon Bywater, Executive Councillor for Community Resilience and Well-Being on Huntingdonshire District Council, has also spoken out strongly against the plans.

He said: “This proposal is in direct contravention of the Huntingdonshire Local Plan 2036. The Local Plan did not put this site forward for development and the public rightly expect that the Plan will be respected. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that there will be a huge loss of public confidence in the planning system and Huntingdonshire Planning Department if this development is approved.

“Increased traffic resulting from this development would impact on the nearby villages through heightened air pollution. The emissions resulting from high numbers of Heavy Goods Vehicles, which emit greater emissions than smaller vehicles, would clearly result in a permanent negative impact upon the environment.

“The size of the proposed warehouses would also have a serious negative visual impact on the local community.

“This project is drastically damaging and re‐shaping the landscape and in my view having a detrimental impact on the local the skyline for local people. In particular to the Chesterton ridge top which will be obscured by a line of unsightly warehouse roofs. I also believe there will be significant light contamination from this site on the local villages and is not be acceptable.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara has also previously expressed his objection to the plans, warning the developers that the proposed development of 4.6 million square feet of warehousing contravenes the council’s Local Plan and will mean extra traffic, more air pollution and will harm views of the countryside.

In January, he said: “I am against this development and will be working closely with the local community who are also against it.

“The proposal is in breach of the Local Plan which was agreed only two years ago after a very lengthy and expensive consultation process with the public.

“To now disregard the Local Plan would make a mockery of the whole process.

“The arguments against this development are formidable and numerous and they will be robustly put to the Planning Authority.”

Ward District Councillors Tim Alban & Marge Beuttell are both opposed to this proposal aswell.

Councillor Beuttell said: “We share the concerns of the residents who have contacted us. This is a speculative development, outside the Local Plan, which was only adopted in 2019”

Councillor Alban added: “If allowed, the development would see the further loss of agricultural land and a potential increase traffic and pollution”.

The application can be viewed in full on Huntingdonshire District Council’s planning portal, using reference 22/00441/FUL.