The planning decision to allow DHL to build a million sq ft hub on expansion land at Magna Park Lutterworth is expected by the end of the month. While IDI Gazeley, the developer, has secured DHL as tenant – promising 1,200 jobs – there are no guarantees that the detailed planning application will be accepted.
More than 900 objections have been recorded from local residents and businesses. For many the concern is that should the DHL application go through it will mean that it would be very difficult to prevent IDI Gazeley from further expanding the park to the north. The developer has an outline application for a further 4 million sq ft expansion awaiting a decision. In addition rival developer dbSymmetry is looking to develop up to 3 million sq ft to the south of the park.
Prologis, which is developing DIRFT 3 – a strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) supporting 7.8 million sq ft of rail served distribution space near Rugby – has also objected strongly noting that IDI Gazeley’s application ‘appears to directly conflict with the overall strategic aims of the National Planning Policy Framework which seeks to reduce carbon emissions through promoting sustainable transport modes and the National Networks National Policy Statement which prioritises distribution and warehousing sites served by rail’ because Magna Park is not rail served. Prologis feels that the expansion plans could be detrimental to its own development.
In addition, the company notes that the combined proposals for the extension of Magna Park should be considered as a National Significant Infrastructure project (NSIP) being a similar size to its own application which was determined by the Secretary of State in 2014. These applications need to show that they comply with all national planning policy statements.