Leicestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Massive Expansion proposed for Magna Park

Countryside around Magna Park and Ullesthorpe Countryside around Magna Park and Ullesthorpe Tony Stott

CPRE Leicestershire is concerned about the scale of this development and supports the case against the expansion of this facility.

 

CPRE View
CPRE members are flabbergasted at the prospect of this proposed extension stretching so far into open countryside, taking up productive farmland and destroying natural habitat to the detriment of the wildlife, and putting historic and heritage assets at risk. This is without taking into account the devastating impact on the adjoining communities in terms of amenity, pollution, traffic and the local infrastructure in general.

 
The Proposals
Expansion plans from IDI Gazeley and db symmetry (formerly Barwood Developments) have been shown to the community in public exhibitions this year, though these plans appear to have been put on hold with developers until after the recent general election.


To the north of the current distribution centre, IDI Gazeley are suggesting the site be expanded by 225ha, 1.5 miles along the A5 over a large area of open Grade 3 productive farmland and to the south, db symmetry (Barwoods)  are proposing a 87ha site which will bring the existing hub closer to Lutterworth. These proposed developments would constitute a doubling of the size of Magna Park, making it considerably larger than Lutterworth and what is already one of the largest distribution hubs in Europe would become even larger.


The amenities for lorry drivers at Magna Park are already deficient, resulting in lorries occupying the local by-roads and laybys with an impact that then becomes a problem for everyone in the wider community, other than Magna Park. Whatever happens at Magna Park this problem has to be ameliorated by the provision of a holding area whilst drivers wait for the slots to service their loads.


The Case against
All this has prompted the initiation of local action groups to prepare to fight against the proposal. In principle they would seem to have a great deal of ammunition to support their case. Thus:-

  •  The NPPF advocates the development of brownfield sites before looking to any others. The original concept of Magna Park as the development of the old Hawker Siddeley site was novel in its time but not relevant now.
  •  The current Harborough core strategy does not favour any expansion of the footprint of Magna Park.  However the strategy is currently undergoing a review so this could change.
  • A recent scoping study by the Leicestershire Authorities (including Harborough District Council) appears to imply that, if they are built, there would be a vast oversupply of B8 warehousing in the area, if not county wide.
  • The scoping study suggests that new developments of this nature in the area should be based on links to the rail network rather than solely on road links. There are no suitable railheads near this site. Permission has already been granted for the expansion of the Rugby Gateway distribution hub.
  • Consent has recently been granted by the Secretary of State for the development of 8.5 million square feet at DIRFT 111 together with an extended rail head and logistics academy. This should be sufficient for the local needs of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire combined.
  • Why develop open countryside losing valuable and productive farmland which cannot be replaced?


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