32 New Lane, Vectos and Mr. Dix’s difficulty with numbers.

At yesterday’s planning committee meeting, had anybody actually been listening, rather than just making up the numbers, they’d have picked up at first hand the difficulty we’ve had making sense of the Vectos transport documentation associated with the 32 New Lane planning application.

Read on, then look at the table and listen to the clip of the traffic consultant himself. We’ve included a few extracts from the HCS deputation, to set the context:

“Traffic is the killer factor here and while the text in the Vectos documents regularly voices the robustness of their numbers, the numbers themselves tell quite a different story.”

“The unknown company provided the definitive ‘Occupier Sourced Traffic Data’ on a single page at Appendix F of the Transport Statement.  There is absolutely no evidence in that ‘occupier supplied data’ of the traffic associated with an overnight shift handover.  Between 11pm and 1am the data shows 16 HGV movements and just 1 car. The warehouse shift worker trips appear to be missing and with no viable public transport at that hour, those are missing car journeys representing a fundamental data error.” 

Just one of many examples of evidence which backs up that statement is in the Vectos chart below:

Vectos Framework operational Management Plan – extract 11:00 pm to 6:00am

Now listen carefully to the question posed by Cllr. Hughes to Chris Dix, the Vectos Director. Cllr. Hughes is clearly asking how many HGV movements, not ‘how many HGVs‘. (1 HGV entering and leaving within same hour will be 2 HGV movements). While you listen to Mr. Dix’s response, check the number of overnight HGV movements shown in his own table, above. His constant confusion between ‘vehicles’ and ‘vehicle movements’ and his lack of mastery of elementary mathematics seems to be the hallmark of a Vectos document.

We thank Cllr Hughes for actually having looked into the documentation pile and listened to Mr. Eaves pitch, unlike several of the other committee members who had clearly done neither.

A further point in our deputation regards the magical change in the shift times:

“Two weeks ago, Vectos re-wrote the entire shift pattern, bringing it forward by an hour to move the overnight changeover to 11pm in an attempt to explain the 200 missing night shift workers. In doing so, they forgot that the 200 ‘now missing’ evening shift workers have to go home.  And that sums up the quality and rigour of their output.”

And if you don’t believe that, read these extracts from the Vectos documents, starting with this one:

From the Framework Operational Management Plan, posted 14 July (These hours are consistent with Transport Statement (Feb ’21) and the Supplementary Transport Assessment (July ’21)

Which magically became this, on 26 August:

From the Vectos Note posted on 26 August in response to a request for clarification by HCS

It seems that we’re alone in having tried to keep track of the traffic impacts associated with this application. Either Hampshire County Council Highways weren’t really interested, or they’d simply been ground into submission by the volume of shoddy documentation from the applicant. Either way, the HCC Highways Officer didn’t have a lot to say. We hope the expenses made the trip worth while for him.

We also pointed out in our deputation that:

Just two weeks ago, Basingstoke Council was forced to revoke its planning consent for an Amazon warehouse after a challenge to the legality of the decision, based on what was considered to be an error in the information given to the committee. (Here’s the story)

The fact remains that there are still clarifications that need to be obtained and errors in critical data to be resolved. The Case Officer noted it in his report, and we highlighted it in our deputation:

The Committee Report before you notes that “there remain a number of clarifications being sought from the applicant’s Transport Consultant”

As far as Havant Civic Society is concerned, our concerns still require unambiguous clarification and are therefore still outstanding.

In closing, we reminded the Planning Committee that:

The Constitution advises that you “come to your decision only after due consideration of all of the information reasonably required. If you feel there is insufficient time to digest, or that there is insufficient information before you, then if necessary, defer or refuse.”

Our recommendation was that they should defer until the missing information was available.

At the end of the day, let’s face it, it was a done deal. HBC are desperate for jobs at any cost and with a ‘global brand name’ to quote as a ‘RegenCo achievement‘, it must seem attractive. Sadly, it writes off a prime employment site which could genuinely benefit the residential population around it, if only the Council had a real vision.