- 22nd May, 2016. St Modwen announces it has acquired Chippenham Gateway. “St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, has signed a conditional contract to develop a strategic 79 acre site immediately adjacent to Junction 17 of the M4 near Chippenham that will transform the land into a new region wide serving distribution park.”
- 8th September, 2016. First consultation. Display boards and feedback forms in Kington Langley Village Hall
- 5th April, 2017. St Modwen announces “Positive public support (sic.) leads to planning application for new distribution hub at Chippenham Gateway” and lodges planning application 17/03417/OUT
- Until 11th May, 2017. Period for public response. Over 250 letters opposing the development, including 9 parish councils. 3 letters in favour.
- 25th July, 2017. St Modwen and Savills hold a 2-hour public meeting in Kington Langley Village Hall to explain changes to their application. 130 people attend and strongly make their views known.
- 14 August, 2017. Amended plans lodged with Wiltshire Council. Further public comments invited by 28th August, 2017. Target date for decision 13th October, 2017
- As at 4th October, 2017 430 letters of representation from the public on the planning website for 17/03417/OUT, overwhelmingly against the application.
What St Modwen is now saying (publicly):
“St. Modwen carried out a full programme of public consultation and continues to engage with Wiltshire County Council, local stakeholders, landowners and politicians to help secure planning consent, which it is anticipated will be approved later this year.”
They have not announced any lessees or end users for the facilities.
What Wiltshire Council is saying:
That (i.e.13 October date) is the currently agreed extended target date for determination but it is likely that it will be extended again very shortly as the applicant is working on additional information submissions at the moment in response to some matters raised at the last period of consultation. No new target date agreed at the moment though but it is likely to be beyond the November Strategic Committee date 8/11/2017.
Some responses so far from Wiltshire Council officers and Highways England:
We show where possible their overall conclusion but these responses are detailed and in some cases very technical and not easily summarised. We suggest you read them on the Wiltshire Council website www.wiltshire.gov.uk, by going to the planning tab, search planning applications keying in 17/03417/OUT
Case Officer – no public response yet
Economic Development Officer – responses on file but not yet concluded. The economic assessment is particularly difficult without knowing who the end users will be.
Highways England – recommend that conditions should be attached to any planning permission that may be granted. 25.9.17.
Highways England recommends that the Local Planning Authority attach a single condition to any planning permission granted. This includes:
The development hereby approved shall not be brought into use unless or until the improvement scheme identified for M4 Junction 17, as shown in the Peter Brett Associates Drawing ref: 37813/5502/001 Rev E, titled ‘Chippenham Gateway M4 J17 Amended Mitigation Scheme’, has been completed in accordance with the Local Planning Authority’s approval (in consultation with Highways England) and is open to traffic
To ensure the safe and efficient operation of the S[trategic]R[oad]N[etwork] i.e. M4 J17”
The PBA mitigation scheme for M4 J17 consists:
- Signalisation of the A350 approach;
- Signalisation and widening of the B4122 approach. This includes widening of the current single lane approach to two lanes at the stop-line, which would continue for 36 metres before tapering back into a single lane;
- The circulating carriageway at the A350 to be widened to three lanes;
- The circulating lane at the B4122 to be widened to three lanes;
- Increasing the carriageway flare length by approximately 20 metres on the A429 as well as minor widening in vicinity of the give-way line.
A previous condition excluding ‘parcel distribution’ use (because ‘parcel distribution’ use generates a higher level of development trips compared to storage and/or commercial distribution uses) has now been deleted.
Landscape Officer– Object 1.9.17
“Conclusions: The revised and additional information does not demonstrate that any of the fundamental concerns that I raised in my previous consultation response have been addressed at all. The applicant has ignored all previous landscape advice and comments offered to date.
It is clear that the LVIA (Landscape & Visual Impact Appraisal) (which is supposed to be an iterative and transparent process) has played absolutely no part in the development of the outline development parameters. It merely seeks to justify pre-determined built development parameters.
As a minimum I would typically expect any LVIA to acknowledge that a development of this scale is likely to result in some severe or major adverse ‘localised’ permanent effects i.e. to the character of the site itself, and any characteristic landscape features proposed for removal, and for public visual receptors that would no longer be able to use the public footpaths through the site, and from public visual receptors with prominent new views towards development etc. however this assessment is unable to conclude that there are any permanent severe adverse effects arising from this development of any kind, despite my previous concerns about the inadequacy of the submitted LVIA and Landscape Mitigation Strategy.
It is clear to understand from the submitted cross sections included within the design and access statement, and the illustrative photomontages that the proposed landscape strategy will fail to provide any meaningful landscape or visual mitigation. The transitions from the proposed new development fronting open countryside to the south and east are of particular concern.
The submitted outline development parameters along with the submitted landscape strategy do not demonstrate that this incongruous form or amount of development being proposed can be sympathetically or appropriately accommodated at this site. In my opinion the applicant is attempting to accommodate far too much developable floor space within their available landholding at the expense of any meaningful landscape strategy to compensate or mitigate for the resulting landscape and visual effects.
The proposed development will never assimilate into its rural context and this application should be
refused on landscape and visual grounds as it fails to satisfy minimum policy requirements of Wiltshire Core Strategy, Core Policy 51: Landscape.”
Ecology Officer–Support subject to conditions 8.9.17
- A Landscape & Ecological Management Plan must be submitted at full planning. This will detail
all prescriptions for management of key ecological features within the site and the species they
support, as set out in the agreed Landscape Strategy.
- Prior to the commencement of any development within the site, a Construction Ecological
Management Plan will be submitted to and for approval by the LPAs ecologists. Section 7.1 of
the Ecological Appraisal by Green Ecology should provide the basis for the content of the CEMP.
Environment Agency 18.8.17
“An Environmental Permit (from the Environment Agency) will be required for the foul
drainage package treatment plant. Due to the sensitive groundwater beneath the site it
cannot be guaranteed that this will be granted.”
Spatial Planning Officer 19.9.17
The proposed site is unallocated and is located outside the settlement boundary. The consideration of Jct17 as a whole should be looked at as part of the Wiltshire Local Plan Review.
With regard to the proposed distribution centre, the additional information does not provide the necessary evidence to determine whether this proposal is essential to the wider strategic interest of economic development of Wiltshire”
Arboricultural Officer 19.9.17
“The Landscape and Visual Impact Appraisal states ‘during the appraisal, effects on features identified as important to the scenic quality, or effects on the landscape character of the site and its setting are assessed’. Unfortunately, the LVIA makes no reference to ‘A’ category trees on site. The LVIA mentions the translocation of hedgerows on site but within these hedgerows stand high quality trees, which can be clearly seen from the surrounding areas and footpaths on site.
The mitigation measures proposed within the LVIA along with the Landscape Strategy Dwg No. LS01-01 mentions translocation of hedgerows, structured planting incorporating a woodland screen planting of Oak with a native hedgerow to form an understorey and edge mix, Wet Woodland comprising of Willow and Alder, Rough Grassland, Hedgerow and woodland edge grassland and Pond and wetland grassland.
Unfortunately, these mitigation measures do not compensate or mitigate for the loss of ‘A’ category and veteran trees within an historic field pattern which have taken hundreds of years to establish themselves. Due to the loss of valuable trees on site, the Council have decided to place a Tree Preservation Order on these trees to ensure their immediate protection and long-term retention.”
County Archaeologist – no objection 18.9.17
“…the evaluation concluded there is low potential for archaeological remains and I concur with this. No mitigation is required and I do not have any objection to the development.”
Write to Wiltshire Council
Although the official public consultation has closed, it is still possible for you to write setting out your views if you have not already done so. The address is:
Mr Lee Burman
Chippenham, SN15 1ER
Due to the deadline imposed of 28th August for submissions of objections to the revised planning application its important that you review the amended plans quickly. Although you may have objected before, it is important that you submit further objections to the amended application. Whilst the revised application runs to several hundred pages there are minimal changes particularly with regard to the prematurity, economic, transport and down stream drainage issues.
A detailed list of comments is available from this link for information and is summarised below. You will, of course, have your own valid reasons to include.
- The application is premature because the development would undermine the delivery of the already agreed strategic sites and very likely have an adverse affect on the future land allocations across the county. The application is speculative.
- Only 14 days allowed to respond to the revised application (during holiday period of August) and there are over 20 detailed documents
- The land is open countryside and not currently part of the employment land allocation within Wiltshire’s Core Strategy 2016.
- No detailed study of the need for employment land at junction 17 particularly in view of the development of Hullavington by Dyson.
- The Gross Value Added (economic value) to Wiltshire’s economy of about £54m per annum claimed by the developer is overstated and should be independently assessed as it issues a GVA per employee of £46.7k. An average jobs per square meter figure has been used resulting in the claimed employment figures being higher than required for the site.
- It is far outside the principle settlement of Chippenham.
- The strategic Symmetry site at Swindon for warehousing distribution is currently available and has been for a number of years years.
- Large scale distribution and warehousing is not an economic priority for the Council or the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprises Partnership and the Council’s own analysis shows little demand for this type of development (B8 warehouse).
- The scale of the development, light pollution and noise from a 24 /7 basis. An impact assessment of the air pollution has not been carried out at Junction 17 which is understood to currently be above acceptable limits.
- The last traffic survey is out of date (2015). The modelling provided by the developer shows capacity exceeded at peak times and a staggering daily total of 3,437 vehicles ignoring the Dyson development of Hullavington and other proposed Chippenham developments. The modelling is based on 2011 demographics and assumes where the workers will be coming from. There is no real understanding of the traffic problem today and a survey is needed.
- The large volumes of slow moving HGVs entering and existing the B4122 (claimed to be 1 every 3 minutes in 24 hour operation) will impact the safety of all road users, especially those entering and leaving the A350 at Junction 17.
- The revised building height is 18.5 metres. so visually intrusive from a wide area.
- Drainage: whilst on site drainage has been addressed comprehensively , downstream issues remain a major concern. Huge increase of flood risk to Sutton Benger, Draycot Cerne and Christian Malford.
Thank you for your support and please inform others as you think appropriate as our contacts are limited.
How to find and comment on the amended planning application
An amended planning application has now been submitted by St Modwen / Savills and has been uploaded by Wiltshire council to their planning website. The information on the amended planning application is available at the planning application page for 17/03417/OUT. The plans and documents supporting this amended application are available here (look for the revised plans section with documents dated 11th August).
Please note that Wiltshire council is asking that any further comments be submitted by August 28th 2017! You can add your comment on the amended plans by using the link shown.