Green light for controversial new distribution centre

DETAILED plans for a major distribution centre that will bring more than a thousand jobs to south Essex have been approved by Thurrock Council.

Full planning permission was granted to the Segro Logistics Park on Purfleet Road in Aveley last week after the developer submitted their final plans for the distribution centre that promises to create 1,500 jobs.

The site will be 28,296 square metres – the equivalent of three and a half football pitches – and will include a warehouse and offices, 35 HGV and commercial vehicle ‘docking points’, and a multi-storey car park.

The site is being “spec-built” which will see it built without a specific occupier in mind, however Segro has previously supplied facilities for major retailers such as John Lewis and IKEA, as well as courier services such as Fedex and DHL.

Employees will work shifts over a 24 hour period and planning officers note these will be outside of the morning and evening peak rush hours, reducing the risk of congestion.

However, the plans have been met with opposition from some residents living nearby. Their concerns range from the increase in pollution and litter to the possibility of excess noise and traffic congestion.

In one letter to the council’s planning team, a resident wrote: “I would presume this development will have a detrimental effect on the residential property prices – what compensation will be provided to residents, what reduction in Council Tax will they receive?

“The road at the bottom of Purfleet Road is wide enough to cater for normal traffic but not wide enough to cater for a flow of HGV vehicles. Normal traffic must reduce speed to navigate, HGVs will be at a crawl to navigate two tight turns into the development, causing a back up of traffic on London Road and delays on Purfleet Road. HGV traffic should access the site from another entrance off the A13.

“Once again it appears that Thurrock Council’s objective is to blight the lives of residents and council taxpayers. My father has lived opposite this proposed development since 1939 and this is causing extreme stress and health issues to my family and their neighbours.”

Final approval has been given three months after the council’s planning committee agreed to grant outline planning permission.

At the time, councillors were divided over whether it would be appropriate, with Cllr Angela Lawrence, of the Belhus ward, raising concerns about the increased level of traffic and the subsequent impact on the environment.

However, Cllr Gerard Rice, of the Chadwell St Mary ward, said he believed the applicant has done enough for the committee to say yes and “the fact it is going to generate 1,500 jobs cannot be discounted”.

This was backed by planning committee chair Cllr Tom Kelly, who said “it fits well within the realms of acceptability”.