Eddie Stobart has submitted plans for staff accommodation on site at its 1.6 million ft2 warehouse complex on the Midlands Logistics Park in Corby, Northamptonshire in the East Midlands.
The application has been put forward by the 3PL and GIG Hotels – a subsidiary of GIG Group, a London-based ‘flexible worker’ agency that provides 80 workers daily to the site for Eddie Stobart’s iForce business.
GIG brings workers from areas of high unemployment to locations to the site providing transport and accommodation on an ongoing basis guaranteeing a minimum supply level of labour for its clients such as iForce, with a closed audience workforce.
The move to provide accommodation on site according to GIG will help to avoid some of the additional costs, such as transport and hotel accommodation, to be passed on.
MD and Co-Founder of GIG Anthony Woodock said: “Purpose-built accommodation allows us to keep a consistent delivery for our clients, so we can guarantee a certain number of heads, and keep that cost steady through the year, it also means we can tailor the accommodation to better suit the needs of our workers.”
The accommodation block, which is already in place but not yet occupied, is three-storeys in height providing 48 modular building units capable of accommodating 52 warehouse operatives sharing bathrooms and kitchens.
The submission of this application had been requested by the North Northants Council following a recent site visit undertaken by members of the planning team regarding what was thought to be unauthorised development appertaining to the accommodation.
In its covering letter Eddie Stobart said: “Only staff working within the iForce warehouse would live within the accommodation block and therefore the proposed space can be regarded as being ancillary Class B8 space serving the much larger adjacent warehouse building.”
The company added that it had identified a need to provide accommodation for their staff in order to better manage staffing levels during peak activity when warehouse staffing requirements can increase by over 300%.
“By developing purpose-built staff accommodation,” it said, “[it] would be able to, during peak times, bring in staff from wider afield complementing the local labour pool and supporting the gaps that the local labour market is unable to fill during peak period spikes.”
GIG said that over recent years it had seen the adverse impact of the pandemic and Brexit on businesses’ ability to keep things operating smoothly.
It said: “Research has shown that during this period a range of industries struggled to recruit and retain staff in sufficient numbers to cope with recent disruption. We have been aware of a ripple effect in the UK labour market, especially in areas like Northampton where there are a number of logistics companies all who have high volume staffing needs.”
Some local councillors are concerned about the standard of the living conditions and its location in a storage area behind the warehouse next to a railway line.
The application does include an external amenity area with astro turf and benches. A temporary permission is being sought for three years for the accommodation block.