32 New Lane – An important update

If you made a comment on the contentious Planning Application for the ‘last mile delivery centre’ at New Lane, you will have received a letter in the past couple of days from HBC notifying you of a new planning application for the site. This is because Kingsbridge Estates have submitted a new application to make changes to the Conditions that were applied to the original planning approval for the site. Please read on and we’ll explain.

This new application – which you can view and comment on here – seeks to vary four of the conditions that were placed on the approval when it was passed by Havant Borough Council on Sept 9th. In our view, all four of these conditions are perfectly correctly worded by HBC and should not be altered in any way.

We strongly recommend that if you are concerned about the impact that this development will have on the future of the town and its traffic, then you should register your objection.

The three critical conditions are set out below. The fourth, Condition 4, relates to the Operational Management Plan which sadly is as poorly presented as all the previous documents submitted for the site by Vectos and takes some unpicking. We’ll publish our response to that in a few days.

Condition 9 – Livery and Branding

The Council’s wording states:

The applicant says that “The rationale for Condition 9 was to seek to control a perceived potential issue of rat-running from van drivers.” The new application requests that this condition be completely removed, claiming that the risk of rat-running has been eliminated through updates to the new Operational Management Plan. We will be refuting this in detail in our response.

Given the inevitable congestion that this operation will generate, clear visibility of these delivery vans across the full town centre road network is essential to the accurate monitoring of the impact of the site and to ensure that the operation remains within the permitted limits. All other reputable delivery organisations, for example DHL, UPS, DPD and Royal Mail run fleets of branded vehicles and no exception should be made for the operation from of this site.

Condition 10 – Traffic Monitoring

The Council’s wording states:

We believe that this condition is absolutely correct as it stands and should not be altered.

This application seeks to change this, watering down the controls by saying that the data would be provided ‘on a regular basis for an initial period. 

From detailed analysis of the Operational Management Plan which accompanies the application, it is clear that the intention is to provide this monitoring for just two hours of the day, from 07:00 to 08:00 and from 17:00 til 18:00, Monday to Friday. While that is, of course, completely unacceptable given the 24/7, year round operation of the site, the Operational Management Plan goes further, stating that “An annual monitoring report will be provided to include data for two week periods at six monthly intervals starting at the anniversary of the development commencing operations.” In other words, they’ll do nothing for a year and hope everybody learns to live with the mess.

Condition 28 – Employment and Skills Plan

The Council’s wording states:

The applicant is seeking to change the key age range here from 16-24 to 18-24, making the following statement: “the end-user doesn’t recruit people younger than 18 years old.” That’s very bad news for all those local kids looking to leave school next year at 16 and get a job working for Amazon.

Or whoever the company might be…

It already appears that there are negotiations going on between Kingsbridge and HBC outside the official public process, given the following comment written by the applicant:

We’ve asked the HBC Case Officer for that additional documentation since it’s clearly relevant to the consultation, but so far, it’s not been forthcoming.

If you believe this to be wrong, please take the time to register your objection to this application by taking this link. If you need a bit of guidance on how to fill in the online form, take this link here and we’ll tell you. These links will open in separate tabs in your browser.

While the Portsmouth News insisted that they had half a dozen sources identifying the proposed occupier as ‘Amazon’, the fact that HBC Communications are still keeping quiet about it suggests that either they now realise the enormity of their mistake, or that no contract has yet been signed by Amazon with Kingsbridge.

As the planning consultant who submitted the application states:

The truth is to be found in the highlighted phrases.