Sheffield jobs: Plans approved for more than 1,000 new roles at mega distribution hub near city
Councillors have agreed to remove an access which will form part of a new ‘vast distribution hub’ in Hellaby, which developers say could create more than 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
Outline permission was granted last year for the 630,000 sq ft facility, which will be built along with a smaller 85,000 sq ft facility on a 40-acre site by junction 1 of the M18 at Hellaby.
Construction for the 715,000 sq ft development, called Interchange Park, could potentially begin in the first quarter of 2022.
The site, already an established distribution location, is home to Great Bear, Clipper Logistics, DX and FedEx.
The outline plans to build the warehouse attracted more than 200 objections before gaining approval from Rotherham Council in November 2020.
The plans are still at the outline stage, which means the warehouse has been agreed in principal awaiting a further, more detailed application.
Rotherham Council’s planning board met last week to discuss removing the southern access point.
Developers also asked the council to remove a planning condition which limited the number of parking spaces when the full application is submitted.
The amendments were discussed at planning board due to the number of objections received.
Amongst the objectors were Alexander Stafford, Mp for Rother Valley, Ravenfield Parish Council, Maltby Town Council and area councillors from RMBC.
What did Rotherham council say about the plans?
Chris Wilkins, Rotherham Council’s planning officer told the meeting that the main considerations for this application were the impact on the highway network, noise and air quality.
“The impact of development on the local and strategic highway network was fully assessed at the outline stage, and a transportation assessment accompanied that application,” added Mr Wilkins.
“When determining the original outline application, the primary access to the site was assessed in capacity terms assuming that all of the development would use the central access.
“All the cars, all the HGVs, would use this access. It wasn’t assuming that any traffic would go in the southern access, or anything would come in the top access.
“[The transport assessment] was assuming that everything would go in there, to give it a worst-case scenario.
“This proposal to remove that access at the bottom doesn’t have any bearing, because the TA assessed everything based on it coming in this middle access anyway.
“Results of [air quality] modelling have been done by the council, and suggests that nitrogen dioxide levels are below national standards in this location.
What did residents object to?
Anne Rowley, on behalf of the Hellaby Community Action Group raised concerns about traffic, air quality and road safety.
“As far as we can ascertain the air quality monitoring was based just on HGTV and LGV vehicles, not cars,” Anne told the meeting.
“We do have reservations about whether that did identify an accurate level of exposure to nitrogen dioxide.
“Most of the traffic is coming from Bawtry Road, and all the HGVs have to access from Bawtry Road, we do feel that there might be a backlog on Cumwell Lane while waiting to cross the carriageway.
“It’s still a 60MPH speed limit, and traffic approaching from Thurcroft is approaching a blind double bend.
“The northern access is close to the junction, and there are issues there about cars parking on what will be the new pavement and cycle lane.
“We’ve had a rat run through the estate, when people do not want to wait in the queue on Bawtry Road.”
What did the developer have to say?
Daniel Burn, the development director for applicant Panattoni told the meeting that the development could potentially create 1,010 full-time equivalent jobs.
“The shortage of HGV drivers’ labour and materials, due to a combination of Covid post-Brexit customs measures and the Suarez blockage early this year have highlighted the need for simplified supply chains and more direct routes to customers,” said Mr Burn.
“What this has served to create is a major supply and demand imbalance across the whole of the UK. This is exacerbated in Yorkshire.
“There are currently no grade A buildings over 100,000 square feet available today across the whole of the Yorkshire region, stifling growth and employment opportunities for local residents.
“Our proposed scheme could could be expected to create between 945 and 1,010 full-time equivalent direct jobs, and between 415 and 445, full time equivalent indirect jobs.
“We are already in discussions with a number of nationally based occupiers all of whom are keen to locate their business in Rotherham, but these companies require planning certainty to mitigate their business risk
“We are simply seeking to remove the southern access to the site that is not required. Removing this is the only change to the outline consent, that is being pursued in order to in order to facilitate a detailed scheme that will follow shortly.”
Chris Darlow, planning consultant to the applicant added: “Many of the matters raised by the objectors relate to the accessibility of the overall development the sides are matters that have already been approved. These are not relevant considerations.”