Parishioners urge planners to reject overwhelming scheme for McDonalds, retail and business parks on peninsula

  Posted: 27.07.20 at 07:43 by The Editor

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Villagers have called on Babergh planners to refuse permission for a McDonalds to be built in Wherstead over fears they will be swamped by development.

The 315 residents of the village are concerned a take-away drive-thru, along with a service station development, along with other retail and business parks would overwhelm the area.

Babergh planners will this week consider two applications being made by Pigeon (Wherstead) Ltd, c/o Pigeon Investment Management Ltd for :
* McDonalds, petrol station and retail outlets on land adjacent to Junction 56 off the A14.
* A distribution warehouse on land adjacent to Junction 56 off the A14
and a separate application by another developer for a retail park on land west of Vicarage lane, close to Wherstead Park

Residents fear the new developments would double the existing amount of business parks in the village, increasing an already high volume of traffic, especially at peak times and add to the existing anti-social activities, in particular by motor bikers using nearby fields.

Concerns at the effect on the neighbouring Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the loss of prime agricultural land.

A spokesman for Wherstead parish council told Nub News: "With good road connectivity off the A14 Wherstead provides an excellent location for business, with four large business parks already established in the village and a further area of land designated in the local plan to allow for further expansion.

"Wherstead Parish Council recognise the need to support businesses and ensure there are enough premises to allow economic growth. However, the three applications due to come before Babergh planning this week represent a significant increase in business premises concentrated within Wherstead. Potentially adding a further 30,000 sq metre of Business premises plus a McDonalds, petrol station and retail outlets, which is just too much for one small village to support.

"The Parish Council believe this additional concentration of business development within Wherstead is excessive and if they are all approved will swamp the homes in The Street and Vicarage Lane areas, surrounding them with seven business parks.

"One of the applications is in the setting of the AONB, so under national guidelines it is required to conserve or enhance the setting. We believe this is not achieved by building a two storey 10,625 sq metre office complex with retail shop on a site which is not designated in the Joint Local Plan."

Euro Garages argue a service area is needed at the site for the benefit and safety of road users, who can use a four pump fuelling facility, drive-thru outlet, retail shop, and parking for 69 cars, lorries and coaches.

In a separate application, agents acting for Pigeon Investments claim their application for a new warehouse will improve the district's economic growth, increase employment opportunities and its proximity to the A14 makes it a sustainable development.

The third application, made by Burnt Wood Ltd, for a retail unit west of Vicarage Lane, is for more commercial unites in the Orwell Food Enterprise Zone, which follows the company's success at getting permission for seven new commercial buildings providing 24 business units, one new general agricultural store with associated access following demolition of existing buildings and a new access road at Park Farm Barns, close to the Bobbits Lane application site.

Burnt Wood claim the new unites would complement the existing peninsula Business Centre and Wherstead Park and in their panning statement point to a reinstatement of publicly accessible parkland, which will enhance the character and appearance of the area and provide for health and recreational benefits for local residents and employees.

It also insists there would be improvements to habitats on-site and their future management to enhance the ecological value of the site and deliver net gains in biodiversity. They add, an excellent superfast broadband connection would be available to all proposed units.

Dozens of residents, the AONB and the Stour and Orwell Society are long those who have also objected to all three applications.

Members of the public can view the planning committee meeting via the live streaming on Babergh's You Tube channel at 9am, Wednesday, July 29.

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