Warehouses at M1 junction ‘would waste £5 million if approved’

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Residents will seek to persuade councillors that a planned logistics park in Northamptonshire will be both against planning laws and dangerous.

Kislingbury Action Group will make representations to a South Northamptonshire planning committee on Thursday over the proposed Junction 16 development, which would see factory units and warehouses built.

A council officer has recommended it for approval but residents of nearby Kislingbury are outraged that the plans ignore the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy, approved at great length and cost to the tax payer last year.

The strategy - which is supposed to be an overview of all major building projects in the area and so stop piecemeal over development - allowed only for a smaller development. The site covered by the latest plans is one fifth big than that approved to fit in five extra warehouses and reservoirs needs for rainwater run-off - a plan that was concerned Anglian Water.

Dr Jonathan Hughes, of the action group, said: “I would highlight the potential waste of the £5 million of rate payers money that was spent on developing the West Northants Joint Core Strategy.

“This proposal flouts the strategy envelop for Junction 16 and opens the way for approval of future developments that are not included in the strategy, including the Norwood Farm development to the east of Harpole and the Milton Malsor/Blisworth Rail Interchange.”

The action group is also vexed at changes from the original plan of an equal balance of factory units and warehouses to an 80/20 split in favour of warehouses.

Dr Hughes said: “This reduces the variety of jobs that could be available to local people as well as adding to the tidal wave of warehouses that seem to be spreading across Northamptonshire.

“The claim that more than 3,000 jobs will be created is also misleading - it includes all those involved only during the construction phase which, in turn, includes offsite roles such as accountants and lawyers.

“ The actual numbers of on-site jobs will be minimal under this proposal, and generally of low quality and limited variety.”

As well as the above concerns, The Health and Safety Agency has already recommended that the councillors should turn down the proposal because of the National Gas Pipeline which passes through the proposed site, and the danger posed by construction work.

The council report says the site would deliver “a wide range of employment opportunities” and “training opportunities” for local people.

It says: “In the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development, it is considered that the proposal would result in sustainable development and for these reasons, the application is recommended for approval.”