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Controversial warehouses plan rejected
PROPOSALS for two large warehouses near Didcot have been thrown out.
Diageo Pension Trust Ltd wanted to build 1m square-feet of distribution and logistics buildings on land west of Didcot Power Station, off Sutton Courtenay Lane, Sutton Courtenay.
But in a meeting attended by about 40 residents on Wednesday night, the plans were refused by 10 votes to three, with one abstention, by Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee.
Chairman Robert Sharp said: “I have great reservations about this application. The scale and height... will spoil the character of the area. It is in the wrong place and at the wrong time.”
It followed concerns from committee members about traffic on nearby roads and that the 23 metre-tall building was too high.
Estates firm MEPC Limited, owner of Milton Park, also sent representative Philip Campbell to object on its behalf.
He told the committee: “This is the first time in my 20-year career I have attended a [planning meeting] to raise concerns about a development.”
Mr Campbell said roads in Milton Park were used by those coming to work and others and took traffic off main highways, but access was permissive. He said: “No-one has accounted for this.
“If this goes ahead we will likely be forced to restrict access... which will put traffic back on the public network.”
He also said the financial contribution Diageo had been asked to make for infrastructure, about £500,000, was too small.
Mr Campbell added: “We obtained consent for half a million square feet and contributed over £4m.
“This giant is nearly a million square feet and the contribution is about one 16th of ours [proportionately].”
Planning officer Mark Doodes recommended approval for the plans, which would have involved about 2,000 jobs, and said councillors faced a choice between visual impact and economic benefit.
He added: “The need to create jobs has been a large influence on our decision.”
David McKenzie, of the Sutton Courtenay Residents’ Association, said: “It would be just 150 metres from residential housing and the economic benefit to this area would be poor.
“Jobs created would be low skilled and people who take them will not be able to afford to live here, so they will come from outside the district anyway.”
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