17th Sep, 2019

Stofords told to think again over look of Eastern Gateway project

Ross Crawford 17th Aug, 2019

EASTERN Gateway developer Stofords has been told to go away and think again about the detail and appearance of any development on the northern half of the controversial site.

On Wednesday evening Redditch planners had been asked for their opinion on the appearance, landscaping, layout, scale and access of a ‘storage and distribution’ building on the north side of the A4023 Coventry Highway.

This included car parking, internal roads, and work to protect and enhance the local ecology and wildlife should the work go ahead.

The site in question is in Bromsgrove district, so any final decision lies with that authority, however Redditch planners were being asked for their views.

Councillor Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) argued that, as back in March they had refused to commit to the project until Stofords revealed who their client was, they could hardly pass an opinion on the appearance of the site if that mystery client pulled out and the application changed.

“I thought it was like putting the cart before the horse – we were not being asked to make a decision, just for our opinion,” he said.

“I felt extremely uneasy – we don’t know who the tenant is going to be or the final size of the actual building and I moved that no decision be taken because I felt if we did we might be prejudicing any future decision on the site.”

Although his proposal was defeated councillors did raise a number of objections on the look of the building, the colour scheme and the impact of floodlighting.

They also called for further consultation with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and for clarification of the position and operating regime of the loading bays at the warehouse, which currently stand at 121 for HGVs, plus parking for 127 more.

The chair of the planning committee, Coun Michael Chalk said: “We asked for greater clarification on a number of points because we want what is best for Redditch, even though we have very little say in this as the decision mainly rests with Bromsgrove.”

Winyates Green campaigner Len Quartly, who attended the meeting said: “I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much, but it was clear they are not going to kowtow to the developer over this.

“What did concern me was they didn’t seem to appreciate the height of this building – yes it is ‘only’ going to be 16.2metres high but it will be sitting on a six metre high earth bank.

“However I did get the feeling they wanted the best for Redditch.”

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