Latest update on Amazon from ‘The News’

There’s a good piece by Toby Paine in Today’s News – online edition.

(Click the image to read)

When the original planning application was approved in September 2021, regular readers will recall that HBC Planning Services attached a number of carefully worded planning conditions. The most significant of these required that traffic counters be placed at all three site entrances “with the traffic data fed into Hampshire County Council’s permanent traffic count database to identify at any point in time whether the traffic figures agreed at planning were being adhered to”.

In closed door negotiations with the applicant’s team, HBC and HCC appear now to have rolled back on the two significant planning conditions and have relinquished ownership of the raw traffic data. The revised Operational Management Plan submitted last week now effectively gives Amazon complete freedom for unhindered traffic generation.

Why is this important?

Management of this traffic is critical since the data provided with the application shows that virtually all – 95% – of the delivery traffic generated from the site will be heading out on the already congested routes to the A27 or the A3(M) to destinations up to 50 miles away. Local residents all know how congested those through routes become, particularly when the sun comes out over Hayling.

Contrary to the ‘smokescreen’ provided at length in the Operational Management Plan, the residents’ concerns have little to do with the supposed ‘1% of traffic that will turn south down New Lane’. The concerns actually relate to everybody who needs to use the routes through to the Langstone Roundabout, the Rusty Cutter roundabout, the Asda roundabout and the Bartons Road/Horndean Road junction. Oh, and let’s not forget the Warblington A27 interchange since when the first four get snarled up, the deliveries will inevitably route through New Lane south and Southleigh Road.

So why won’t Amazon give the local authorities the traffic data they asked for? The excuse can be found in this quote from Toby Paine’s article:

“For commercial reasons we are not able to share this information with third-party organisations or services. This approach has been discussed at length with both councils.”

Spokesperson from Fellows Planning, The News, 27-1-2022

For the same ‘commercial reasons’, no doubt, they never felt able to share full detail of the traffic profile and the employment profile with the original application. There’s absolutely nothing commercially sensitive in the data from the Automatic Traffic Counters, nothing about the consignments or their contents, nothing about the drivers. I doubt they’d even have number plate details. Which reminds this writer, the GDPR nonsense in Operational Management Plan is another irrelevant diversionary tactic. We’re all tracked by ANPR cameras every time we go to Tesco, Majestic Wine, Waitrose, Aldi…..

So, Amazon and their agents are happy to share selective data with Advanced Transport Research, but not with the local authorities who actually need to keep the traffic moving?

That, frankly, is an outrageous statement.

An open memo to Amazon: Who actually advised you that this was a sensible site for this operation? We suggest you dig rather deeper into the real traffic issues before you start giving your customers schedule promises from the Havant Site. Better still, ask HBC about the more suitable locations they have, for the most part ‘shovel ready’.