AL5 site - Stratford Rd and Furtho Pit
Planning Application for Proposed industrial development for land off Stratford Road and at Furtho Pit, Old Cosgrove Road (AL5) made to WNC
WNS/2022/1741/EIA Furtho Pits Old Cosgrove Road Old Stratford Application for full planning permission for the erection of 9 x employment units comprising circa 69,744sqm GIA. of floorspace within Class B2 or B8 Uses, with ancillary class E(g)(i) offices and E(g)(ii) research and development, together with country park, ground re-profiling in the country park, new vehicular access from the A508 and associated site infrastructure, including lorry parking. Application accompanied by an Environmental Statement
With further amendments to the original plans submitted by the developer, the deadline for commenting on the Planning Application to build warehouses on land alongside the Stratford Road and The Old Cosgrove Road near the Dogs Mouth, has now been extended, although comments can be made right up to when the application goes to committee. The application is now unlikely to go before the Strategic Planning Committee before December 2023, following further objections by the Environmental Agency.
Amendments to the developers reports have been uploaded to WNC's Planning site. These amended reports demonstrate that the developer had originally published reports that failed to identify many issues that independent reports organised by FDOG and supported by Cosgrove and Castlethorpe Parish Councils along with Stony Stratford Town Council, have identified.
It's recognised that over 2000 comments objecting to the development have been posted on WNC's Planning portal, along with concerns raised by the Environment Agency. Surprisingly, National Highways are not concerned by the impact on the A5 and Old Stratford roundabout, a statement not supported by local residents who know how these roads are regularly snarled up whenever there's any traffic incidents in the area, especially on the M1.
Concerns raised in response to the application included:
Overbearing development in open countryside.
Increased risk of flooding in a high risk area.
Impact of run off water on Dogs Mouth brook and
River Ouse floodplains.
Lack of control and prevention of contamination to Dogs Mouth
Light and noise pollution seriously affecting residents and
Wildlife protection - badgers, deer, fox, newts, grass
snakes, frogs, toads, barn owls, woodpeckers and other
Pollution from road vehicles in a residential area.
Traffic congestion on main roads.
Impact of site access and egress onto A508.
Old Stratford roundabout capacity concern.
No measures to prevent HGV's driving through Cosgrove.
Risks to cyclists and pedestrians using Old Cosgrove
Existing sewage system at full capacity.
Continued access for existing businesses via Old Cosgrove
It is difficult to imagine that an overbearing development of this size and type can be placed in a rural environment, where previously the planning authority has enforced strict control measures to maintain a rural existence. We now face a proposed development that includes a design and size of buildings that will be totally oppressive over the residential bungalows and small holding adjacent to the site.
Rain run-off from buildings of the size suggested, will add an increased risk of flooding in an area that has history of flooding, possible contamination of the brook and increased demand on all utilities that both villages rely on.
Lighting for any development of this size will create light pollution that impacts on residents living near the site, as well as a damaging impact on all wildlife that currently occupies the area.
The high volume of Heavy Goods Vehicles that will use the site will cause severe congestion on the A508, A5 and A422, as well as the impact on the Old Stratford roundabout. The site contains parking for passenger vehicles that will add to the congestion. It is also known that where employees at sites of this size experience difficulty getting away at the end of their shift, they are likely to park away from the site, which will impact on local residents as well as adding to traffic through the village.
The policy for AL sites produced during the time of South Northants Council, SNC, stated that the proposed use of AL5 site is to include small/medium B1, business and office, B2 General Industrial and B8 Distribution or Storage. The current proposed plan of the site has only provisioned for B8 units, which doesn't conform to policy. Promotion of the site to determine whether there's a need, has not included B1 and B2 opportunities, which also appears to ignore the policy.
Cosgrove Road has provided cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians a safe route to Old Stratford, as well as access to the existing business unit located on Cosgrove side of the A5 dual carriageway. The current plans show the highway, but with a diverted pedestrian loop, which must only advantage the developer and not show consideration for the community or existing business unit.
Logistic developments near Junction 15 of the M1 and the southern end of the A5 dual carriageway beyond Bletchley, will have an impact on traffic using roads near the AL5 site. Earlier traffic surveys are not believed to have made consideration for the rail service not being introduced at Junction 15 for another 2-3 years or the impact of approved AL sites.
Should planning permission be granted, the operations that are expected will add vehicle exhaust fumes, light and noise pollution adjacent to Stratford Road's residential area.
Please have your say on the Planning Application, even if you repeat the concerns raised in the SPD consultation. The two are treated totally independently and concerns must now be raised for the Planning Application, even if repeating the points made during the consultation for the SPD.
The SPD was issued at the end of October 2022 and outlines WNC's development requirements for the AL sites. Councillors, Parish Councils and Furtho Development Objection Group are now reviewing the SPD to identify elements in the Planning Application that don't conform.
The issued Supplementary Planning Document can be viewed in the attachment below.
Residents continue to be encouraged to have their say on all the issues that are not conforming to the AL Employment Site Development Policy, including the impact a development will have on traffic using the local road network, congestion that will hit the Old Stratford roundabout, which was identified as overcapacity prior to 2019.
Proof of wildlife that inhabits the land, may also provide the Planning Officer with a consideration that hasn't been explored.
The closing date for comments and objections has been extended and these can be made on the planning application right up to when it goes to committee. This is not expected now until December 2023 at the earliest.
Cosgrove and Old Stratford Parish Council were made aware on 27th September 2022 that Framptons application made to West Northamptonshire Council for development of these sites, is a full Planning Application.
Councillors and residents had previously understood that the application was only for approval of the Environment Impact Assessment, especially as the allocated application number was given an EIA suffix by WNC. Enquiries confirmed that the application was numbered incorrectly, and it is a full Planning Application.
WNC have acknowledged the confusion and made the necessary corrections to the entry on their website, as well as providing more time for concerns to be raised.
Residents from Cosgrove and Old Stratford gathered in the Village Hall on Friday 14th October to receive a presentation from Furtho Development Objection Group, who explained the current site plan for the proposed AL5 development in the grazing meadow, Stratford Road and Furtho Pit, Old Stratford Parish.
The presentation included explanations from our local Councillors, Ian McCord and Ken Prichard who also answered questions from the floor.
Residents, who were not aware of the history behind the plans, asked why they had not been communicated with at the onset of these proposals. Ian McCord explained that the Parish Council were provided with the Policy documents distributed by South Northamptonshire Council (SNC), back in 2016. SNC were allocating employment sites across the district, with Furtho Pit identified to include B1, business and office, B2 General Industrial and B8 Distribution or Storage. The Policy went to a second stage during the final review, where the meadow on Stratford Road and additional land on Old Stratford's side of the brook were included. Long standing Parish Councillor David Smith, who has recently become Chair of Cosgrove PC, explained that the Policy only named the land for development as Furtho Pit, which is in Old Stratford Parish. The Policy had been amended by SNC, who increased the allocated area with a red line around a plan of the area, but continued labelling the site as Furtho Pit, without clarifying that the development site now includes land in Cosgrove Parish. This is now history and can't be contested or used as an objection to the current planning application.
With the clock now ticking on an important complex issue, attendance at Cosgrove Parish Council meetings on the first Wednesday of each month is recommended, along with any meetings arranged by Furtho Development Objection Group, where the application will be discussed. Listening to reports from our local Councillors and the opportunity to ask questions or express concerns when the meetings permit the public to raise issues, will help residents decide how to respond to the Planning Application.
Back in April 2022, Frontier Park Milton Keynes, Old Stratford, promoted the AL5 site as available for 'Let' prior to the Planning Application being made. View details on DTRE at www.dtre.com/search/properties/97828-frontier-park-milton-keynes-old-stratford-milton-keynes.
One of the requirements when applying for Planning Permission is justification that there is a requirement for the proposed development. Promotion of the developer's aspirations for the site by their agent DTRE, is normal procedure.
A Planning Application has been submitted to WNC for land alongside Stratford Road and at Furtho Pit by Framptons on behalf of Frontier Estates. Cosgrove's Parish Council understands that South Northants Council approved this area for employment development back in 2019, but it's believed that the scale of development was far less imposing than the current proposals. The land was designated as suitable for development in order to provide local employment with provision of B1 business and offices, B2 small industrial, and B8 warehouse & distribution units.
WNC made the expected planning application subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment. The EIA must be submitted along with future planning applications.
The planning application is now live, and residents are advised to comment on the application to West Northamptonshire Council.
Framptons, the consultants handling the planning application for the developers, are displaying their indicative plans on their website from early January. It's recommended that residents view the proposals, but hold off making comments to Framptons, as this may help them prepare and progress their application.