A1 warehouses to create 4,000 jobs but could create planning 'free-for-all'

A1 West would sit next to the dual-carriageway at Peterborough (left of image), on land which is currently used for farming

A1 West would sit next to the dual-carriageway at Peterborough (left of image), on land which is currently used for farming - Credit: Google Earth

New warehouses and distribution centres in Huntingdonshire could create more than 4,000 jobs, a developer claims.

A firm called Newlands Developments wants to create three "development plateaus" on land to the west of the A1 at Chesterton, near Peterborough.

The plateaus on the 103.71 hectare site would support 227,048 square metres of warehousing and logistics floorspace which, if built, would create an estimated 4,232 jobs.

But residents near the site fear that the development would overstep the informal A1 boundary between "industrial" Peterborough and the rural Cambridgeshire countryside.

The A1 West site plan

The A1 West site plan - Credit: UMC Architects/Newlands Developments

A statement by UMC Architects, on behalf of Newlands, reads: "There are extensive economic benefits associated with the proposed development:

"The ability to provide a market-leading storage and distribution facility, which will provide a significant positive impact upon the Peterborough-Huntingdonshire economy.

"Creation of full-time jobs for local people - based upon an analysis of other similar modern storage and distribution developments, it can be demonstrate that the A1 West proposal will have a very positive impact on job creation."

The UMC statement added that the site would deliver around £6.4 million of business rates to local councils, as well as a significant indirect economic contribution and the potential for career progression.

In the current planning application - which was submitted on February 17 and is yet to be determined - the developer wants to undertake highways works, building new roads on the site and vehicle access to the A605 (Peterborough Services).

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They are also asking the district council to support the principle of building new industrial distribution units.

Permission to begin building the new units would be agreed with Huntingdonshire District Council at a later stage.

But Alwalton Parish Council has lodged an objection to the scheme.

In a letter, the council wrote: "The appearance will be hugely detrimental throughout the local area.

"Currently, the A1 dual carriageway forms a boundary between the industrial development of Peterborough and the adjacent rural countryside, and this boundary should remain.

"Visual impacts, traffic, and noise and light pollution are always understated by developers. If you put enough resources in, it is always possible to make plausible sounding arguments to get through the planning process but leave a damaging impact on the environment almost in perpetuity."

A resident from Middle Street, Elton, fears that granting Newlands planning permission could lead to a developer "free-for-all" on land next to the A1.

In a letter to the council, the resident said: "This application has virtually no local public support."

They added: "Should this proposal be approved, it would encourage other developers to pursue projects to the west of the A1 corridor.

"It would almost certainly lead to major applications being submitted for the whole length of the A1 between Stilton and Wansford.

"This would effectively mean the discipline of the statutory local plan has been abandoned and the town planning process in Huntingdonshire would be reduced to a free-for-all."