An independent planning inspector has allowed an appeal against the decision to refuse Gazeley planning permission for a 4.5 million sq ft of new space at Magna Park near Lutterworth.
Harborough Council had refused planning on the site in January 2018, despite the council’s own planning committee approving the scheme in November 2017 by just one vote – within days the scheme was called in for review by the full council and was rejected by 12 votes to 10.
Harborough Council cited that the proposed scheme’s benefits did not outweigh the disadvantages which included increased traffic volumes, reduced air quality as well as considerable harm to a heritage site – an abandoned medieval village and Bittesby House, which would be “hemmed in, isolated, dwarfed and devalued” by Magna Park’s new warehouses.
Inspector Neil Pope, who has overturned that ruling, countered that the benefits of the proposal outweighed any harm that had been identified as part of the consideration of the application and appeal. The benefits of the scheme include 4,500 jobs, and a venture that would contribute £277 million a year to the local economy.
The proposal also includes a training centre, the Logistics Institute of Technology (LIT), an innovation centre, a heritage centre, a 170-acre country park and a new 134 space lorry park that would help reduce a local problem of HGVs stopping in lay-bys overnight.
Gazeley has yet to comment on the reversal but is believed to have an application for the district council to pay its legal costs in taking the matter to appeal.