Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Plans for new distribution centre near Newark refused by council committee

Councillors have refused plans to build a 400,000 square foot distribution centre near Newark in what many described as a “speculative development”.

Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee went against the recommendation of officers to turn down the plans from Tritax Acquisition 39 Limited, which would have been based off the A17 near Coddington.

The same committee deferred the plan at its meeting in October, with concerns raised that no occupier for the large distribution centre had yet come forward.

Since the October meeting, Dixon Carphone, which owns and runs the adjacent Curry’s site on Newlink Business Park, expressed an interest in taking space on-site, but the applicant could not give details of the main occupier.

This, many councillors said, was still not enough to secure certainty for the future of the site.

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The meeting, on November 2, heard relayed concerns from nearby Coddington Parish Council about the wider impact of the development, which would have been accessed via a new entry roundabout on the A17.

Councillors spoke about the potential traffic issues resulting from the proposals, alongside the creation of the fourth roundabout on one stretch of road.

Other councillors spoke of Coddington having its “heart ripped out” by the development which, they believed, would “split the parish in two”.

The recommendation from planning officers was to approve the development as its benefits were “high and overcome the harm”, with estimates of about 500 jobs “likely to be on the low side”.

This opinion was not shared by members of the committee, with the negatives outweighing the positives for nine out of 13 councillors.

The development was refused on the grounds it was not on allocated employment land, undermining the “strategic approach” of designating land for employment, and because of its impact on the open countryside.

Councillor Roger Blaney (Con), chairman of the committee, said: “Although the proposal will bring meaningful economic benefits to the district, these are not considered sufficient to outweigh the harm identified by the sheer scale and massing of the proposal.”

Commenting during the debate, a number of councillors reluctantly spoke in favour of the development and not being able to “turn down” the level of jobs proposed.

But others spoke about how the A17 and A1 corridor can be “gridlocked” at busy times, with the proposed new roundabout likely to increase issues.

Councillor Mathew Skinner (Con), who represents Beacon ward, added: “I’ve got a real concern with the roundabout, the layout and the design.

“The visibility on winter months and dark nights would be really crucial for road safety.

“It’s regrettable we can’t get the access sorted, to get confirmed which employer it is … so to me this is very speculative and I’ve got grave concerns.”

The plan was refused against recommendations, with nine votes for refusal, three against and one abstention.

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