Fears area to be 'choked' by lorriesBy Stephen Lloyd
January 05, 2009
Roads in Fleet, Church Crookham and Farnborough will be choked with lorries if controversial plans for a huge warehouse get the go-ahead, a councillor has warned.
Cllr James Radley is concerned the area is not protected by a draft legal agreement drawn up for the proposed Pyestock mega-depot between Fleet and Farnborough.
Joint warehouse developers Prupim and Astral have vowed to impose movement caps to restrict the amount of lorries generated by the scheme.
But Cllr Radley, who represents Church Crookham East on Hart District Council, warned they would not work.
He said: “Local residents are very familiar with the ineffectiveness of movement caps as a mechanism to constrain the growth of otherwise detrimental development. We only need to look at the cap imposed on aircraft movements from Farnborough Aerodrome to know that they only last as long as is convenient for the operator.
“A site operator can subse-quently apply to increase or remove what they then claim to be an artificial planning constraint. This happened recently for the cap on weekend flights at Farnborough and the government had no hesitation in overturning the restriction on the grounds that it was unreasonable to restrict the aerodrome from reaching its full potential.
“Locally, there is every expectation that the same concession would be made for Hartland Park — the Pyestock site — if they made a similar application in the future. Con-sequently the proposed cap of 800 lorry movements a day offers no long-term protection to residents.”
Cllr Radley warned the legal agreement offered local resi-dents no protection from the number of two-axle vehicles going to and from the site.
He was also concerned that it defined an approved route as only being from, and not to, the site. “If there are no app-roved routes to the site then consequently there are no con-straints on how any vehicle, including lorries, can get to Hartland Park,” Cllr Radley warned.
“Local residents know that TAG, the owner and operator of Farnborough Aerodrome, has no control over the routing of flights once they leave their local Aerodrome Traffic Zone, so it will come as no surprise that if the local airport can’t control where aircraft fly then the operator of Hartland Park is going to have little control over the routing of lorries on their journey to the site.
“This will have a serious adverse impact on the local roads and on the quality of life for local residents.”
Cllr Radley is concerned that the legal agreement does not prevent lorries from driving through Church Crookham, whether they are heading to or from the proposed Pyestock site. “The route via Ively Road, across Norris Bridge and then either up through Fleet or out through Church Crookham, although not the recommend-ed route, is not specifically prohibited either,” he warned.
Cllr Radley feared the legal agreement would allow routing restrictions to be ignored if access to the M3 became ‘unavailable’. “It is not clearly defined what ‘unavailable’ means in this context, but I’m sure that lorry drivers will take it to mean those times when the M3 is not free-flowing,” said Cllr Radley. “Sadly this will be quite often.”
Cllr Radley warned that in this case the majority of satellite navigation aids would send lorry drivers travelling from the west along the M4 through Bramshill, past the entrances to the Elvetham Heath and Ancells Farm estates and along Cove Road.
Lorries heading along the M3 from Southampton would be directed to leave at junction 5 (Hook) and then travel along the A287 and through Church Crookham via Redfields Lane and Aldershot Road.
Cllr Radley voiced his concerns during a public inquiry into the proposed Pyestock development, which ended on December 23.
But in his closing submission on behalf of Prupim and Astral, Christopher Katkowski QC refuted the claims.
He said neither Hart District Council nor SPLAT (Stop Pyestock bLot Act Today) had demonstrated that the propos-ed caps and lorry routing agreement would be likely to fail to achieve their purpose.
Mr Katkowski told the inquiry that a proposed sustainable transport strategy for the site would bring a number of benefits, including a bespoke bus service and improved pedestrian and cycle links.
He added: “There is no sound basis upon which to conclude against the appeal schemes on traffic, highways or transport grounds.”