Magna Park is Big Enough
After many postponements the Council finally considered proposed changes to the Local Plan on Tuesday 18th December which they believe will make the plan sound in the eyes of the Inspector. Cllrs Page, Bateman, Chapman and Ackerley argued for a reduction in the area of space to be added to Magna Park but they were voted down by their colleagues. So the 700,000 sq mts remains in the plan which will now be considered again by the Inspector. We understand that this hearing will take place in mid January 2019. We will of course make representations to the Inspector as we do not believe the evidence supports this large area of development.
On Tuesday 13th November the HDC Executive agreed an amended Policy BE2 which will allow further development at Magna Park. This amendment has been prepared and agreed in haste and we believe does not provide the evidence that the Inspector required. The amended Local Plan will be put to the full Council on Monday 26th November for approval.
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The Inspector of the HDC Local Plan 2011-2031 has stated that Policy BE2 which allows further expansion at Magna Park is not “soundly prepared”. He has asked HDC to do more work on this section of the plan to demonstrate that there is a need for further development and that the impact on neighbouring areas is of an acceptable level.
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Gazeley have appealed against the refusal of their planning application
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Magna Park is Big Enough is an umbrella group for local people who want to challenge the need to expand Magna Park. We believe that any further expansion would have a detrimental effect on our lives and the local environment and bring little or no benefit to the local area.
In 2015 three planning applications to expand the distribution site at Magna Park were submitted to Harborough District Council by two different developers.
The proposed developments would nearly triple the current size of Magna Park placing up to 8 million square feet of warehousing on South Leicestershire countryside. The area of farmland that will be covered by the expansion is the equivalent of 63 Fosse Park Shopping centres.
On the 13th July 2016 Magna Park/DHL was given approval by Harborough District Council’s Planning Committee. This was the second time the Planning Committee had considered the application and this time it was approved by only one vote. At the end of October the final approval was given to this planning application but in early December 2016 dbSymmetry, the developers of Symmetry Park (15/00865/OUT) requested a judicial review of HDC’s decision to grant permission. The courts agreed that there was a need for a judicial review but before the review could take place it was withdrawn. We do not know the reasons for the withdrawal but Gazeley, Harborough District Council and dbSymmetry all had to agree before it could be withdrawn. This meant that work could now start on the DHL warehouse along Mere Lane and the other planning applications could proceed to the planning committee. No doubt many of you will have seen the work being done along Mere Lane for this warehouse development. What you can see is the work for just ONE QUARTER of that site!!!
The DHL warehouse site will be larger than 4 Fosse Park Shopping Centres.
The next Magna Park planning application (Magna Park “North” 15/01531/OUT) will be the equivalent in size to 42 Fosse Park Shopping Centres. This was heard on 23rd November 2017 and accepted by a 6-5 vote. Following the planning meeting a group of councillors called in the application to a full Council meeting. This meeting was held on Wednesday 10th January 2018 and the Council refused planning permission. Gazeley have now appealed against this decision and the appeal hearing is planned for the week beginning 25th March 2019.
The dbSymmetry planning application (Symmetry Park 15/00865/OUT) is to build a site equivalent to 17 Fosse Park Shopping Centres. This application was also heard on 23rd November 2017 and was accepted. This application is now subject to a full planning application.
Meanwhile HDC have submitted its Local Plan 2011-2031 to the government for the consideration of the inspectors. This plan includes proposals to allow development at Magna Park up to 700,000 sq mts – the exact amount of space required for the non-approved planning applications!! However the Inspector has referred the policy which would allow further expansion at Magna Park back to HDC as he stated it is “not soundly prepared”. HDC have responded by bulldozing through some changes to policy BE2 which we believe will still not meet the requirements of the Inspector. For further updates on the Local Plan click here.
Watch this space