Developer welcomes approval for business park off M1 in Northamptonshire despite protest from villagers

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Developers behind plans for warehousing near to the M1 in Northamptonshire have welcomed approval to go-ahead with the scheme which they say will create 3,000 jobs.

The business park, off junction 16, was strongly opposed by campaigners concerned about the impact of the 1.78 million sq ft of industrial and distribution warehousing.

But on Thursday night, councillors at South Northamptonshire Council gave the scheme their approval.

Managing director at Hampton Brook, Graham Stanton, said: “We are happy to have received planning permission for a new business park of this magnitude.”

“Whilst M1dway Park offers an opportunity for a high quality development, its flexibility to accommodate a range of efficient logistics facilities, will service not just the growth in electronic retailing, but also the manufacturing process.

“The development is innovative, sustainable and the high quality design will attract major regional and national employers to the site, which will undoubtedly lead to a high level of job creation.”

The park will have two points of access of the A4500 Weedon Road, via two new roundabouts and a 50mph speed limit implemented from Harpole through to the M1 at Junction 16. Provisions for a five-acre lorry park has also been approved as part of the planning application.

Mr Stanton added: “The M1 corridor is a key location for the distribution/logistic sector development - strategically located within the ‘Golden Triangle’ providing for unrivalled access to the M6 in the north and the M40 to the south.

“It is envisaged that M1dway Park will go some way to relieving the latent demand for space from both existing and new occupiers which is currently unfulfilled. This in turn will ‘boost’ investment in the East Midlands and support local economic growth.”

The Section 106 agreements which form part of planning approval include contributions towards infrastructure improvements, landscaping and enhanced bus services.

Campaigners in nearby villagers however are not convinced of the benefits.

Speaking yesterday, chairman of Kislingbury Parish Council, Alison Ward, said potential future flooding was a concern.

She said not only would the warehouses cover land that might otherwise absorb rainwater, the buildings would collect the water then release it in large volumes.

“The effect on the river will be terrible; you can’t stop Mother Nature.

“When the last flood hit us, the drain in Willow View was overwhelmed and the water was lapping the pavements.

“That’s before any extra buildings. I can’t see it getting any better.”

Kislingbury Action Group had objected that the plans are for a much bigger area than was specified in the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy, approved at great length - as well as a £5 million cost to the tax payer - last year.

However a planning officer recommended that the plans be approved, saying the extra footprint was necessary to fit in five more warehouses and also reservoirs to catch rainwater run-off.