Updated – 03-4-2021:
Read the main story here
Read our media comment here
Read our ‘Fact check’ post here
Consultation on this plan officially closes on Tuesday but comments can still be made online after that date. If you feel strongly about this, please do make your views known. Full details are given in the ‘Main story’ post, see the link above.
So far, neither the applicant – Havant Property Investment LLP, better known as Kingsbridge Estates with Bridges Fund Management – nor their Agent – Luken Beck – has come clean about the name of the ‘intended occupant’ they’re proposing to install at the former Pfizer Cold Chain Warehouse site.
Nor have they come clean about the real impact of traffic generated by the site, submitting a Transport Assessment (aka Transport Statement) which is riddled with inconsistencies and misses significant detail which would clearly be inconvenient to them.
We were recently encouraged to find that Hampshire County Council Highways share some of our misgivings but we’re not yet convinced that HCCH fully understand the nature of Havant’s rat run traffic issues.
Nor has the applicant come clean about the number of proposed employees, having deliberately left section 18 of the Application Form blank. Of course it’s quite possible that they just don’t know how to fill the numbers in given the type of business proposed.
Maybe a change to the form would help here:
We took a deeper look at the likely number and quality of the employment opportunities that a site of that nature and scale would generate. Only after doing this could we predict the real impact of the traffic with any degree of accuracy.
There will be jobs, for sure. Not all current employees of the unnamed company will be consolidated on this site. But let’s just think for a moment about the quality of those jobs. Half of them will likely be self-employed drivers on target-driven pay, with deductions for rental of the vans they’re using, while most of the remainder will be low paid, low skilled warehouse opportunities working in three shifts, round the clock, seven days a week. If you’ve forgotten that Scottish Daily Record undercover report on Amazon’s Last Mile hub in Lanarkshire, it’s worth reading again. Click the link.
Having taken a look at the quality of those jobs, let’s first look at the scale of the traffic. Previously, we were considering ‘just’ the HGV and LGV movements from the site, totalling near 2,500 vehicle movements per day. As if that wasn’t bad enough given the dreadful state of Havant’s traffic in normal times, you can now multiply that figure by 220% to get the real figures once you add in the impact of staff and driver commuting.
Operations in the warehouse will be running 24 hours a day, on a three shift basis, with a midnight shift changeover which would potentially generate another 400+ traffic movements through the local residential streets between 11:30pm and 01:00am.
Let’s have a look at the traffic movements in and out of the site:
With almost 800 vehicle movements at the site in the peak morning hour, it’s no wonder that they’re seeking planning permission for a new, third exit onto New Lane.
We’ll be able to confirm those figures once the Applicant completes the missing details and we can be certain that when they’ve figured out the best way to spin the ’employment’ data, the number will be sold as the headline grabber. At the end of the day, however, the real headline grabbing number is this one:
All of them using the well known rat-runs.
The real losers?
While the whole town loses out here because of the traffic impact, it’s the young and the unemployed who actually stand to lose the most. This is hardly ‘levelling up’ the local economy to use a fashionably meaningless term.
When the full Havant Borough Council Council signed off the Regeneration Strategy on November 7th, 2018, they committed to the following actions on ‘Skill levels’ and ‘Earnings’:
To work in partnership with business to boost employment within higher value roles – managerial, technical and professional occupations to increase local spending power.
To work in partnership with business to drive up the skill profile of the resident workforce to take advantage of higher value roles created within the Borough.
To increase wage levels of Havant residents by driving up the resident skills profile and creating higher value job opportunities in key sectors
We expect Havant Borough Council to make the right decisions for the future of the town and its kids. Please don’t let them down. Above all, don’t throw away a site that is perfect for the kind of employment that would satisfy those actions.
This application should be welcomed, but only if appropriately sited south of the A27 or alongside the A3(M), sites which would also be in the best commercial interests of the unnamed ‘intended occupant’.
You can turn this into a win-win, don’t ruin the real opportunity you have with New Lane.