A much-used car park serving businesses in Wainman Road, Orton Longueville, Peterborough, is to become a car sales site despite local opposition.
The car park, which currently has 96 spaces, is used on a lease basis by employees and customers of the many businesses on the Wainman Road industrial estate.
However, the owner of the site applied for a planning application to alter the use of the car park to a 75 pitch car sales site with associated office facilities, meaning all the current users would need to find alternative places to park.
Speaking to members of the city council’s Planning and Environmental Protection Committee at their meeting on Tuesday, council head of development and construction Nick Harding said: “The site is bound on three sides by industrial units that are accessed by a series of service roads with no footpaths.
“To the north is the soon-to-be redeveloped Gloucester Centre, where currently an access road runs directly through the industrial area and past the site on Wainman Road.
“It is proposed that this access road from the Gloucester Centre be blocked off to all traffic except emergency vehicles, and this will undoubtedly displease the many locals who use it as a short-cut through to Morley Way and the Nene Parkway.
“Some 81 objections to this application have been received by the council, citing everything from the loss of parking in the area, no clearly defined pedestrian pathways, obstruction to surrounding yards, additional traffic and pollution and the large numbers of expected movements of cars in and out of the sales area.
“Objectors said that many of the businesses on the estate have a ‘right of access within their lease’ to park on the existing car park, but so far nobody has been able to actually demonstrate this within a lease.”
Andrea Harrison, who owns several businesses on the industrial estate, said: “The loss of this car park will be a disaster for many of the units on Wainman Road as the service roads surrounding are already clogged up with parked vehicles.
“Quite where 96 additional cars are supposed to park, I cannot say.
“These service roads already suffer from having no defined pedestrian walkways or footpaths. Just imagine the chaos there will be when gigantic articulated car-transporter trailers are struggling every day to get up and down, delivering and taking away the vehicles the owner proposes to sell at this site. It will be utter mayhem.
“I also wish to complain about the loss of the trees bounding the northern edge of the car park which have all been felled and the scrubland cleared. These trees all had several species of bats roosting in them and I want to know when they will be re-planted so that wildlife in the area is protected properly.”
Cllr Janet Goodwin raised objections on behalf of the people in her ward. “The loss of this car park will have an enormous effect on retail businesses in the immediate area as both staff and customers currently use it daily,” she said.
“These are narrow service roads on the estate already clogged by vehicle movements, and obstructing them with car transporters will simply compound an already difficult situation making it potentially dangerous.”
Cllr Christian Hogg said: “I have grave concerns about this application, not the least of which is what will happen to the 96 current users who park their cars on the site. Where will they now put their vehicles?
“But I think my biggest concern is that movements of huge articulated car-transporter vehicles in and out of these narrow roadways will cause absolute chaos. Is there not some stipulation that we can impose to ensure that these enormous transporters do not come into the estate?”
Mr Harding replied: “We have had a late undertaking from the owner of the site that no articulated car-transporter trailers will enter the area for the practical reasons that have already been mentioned.
“Instead, the vehicles will off-load cars for sale at a more practical site further away and transfer them to smaller transport couriers.”
Cllr Peter Hiller said: “On that basis, while I too have serious concerns about aspects of this application, I cannot see any reason how we can refuse this application.”
A vote was taken and by majority the application was approved.
Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service