North Northamptonshire Council has granted planning permission for a 120,000ft2 design and build warehouse on a highly controversial site in the East Midlands which has recorded 20,000 objections via a petition.
The site near Weekley Hall Wood in Kettering is owned by Buccleuch Estates which is behind the main proposal to extend Kettering Business Park with the development of five warehouses and a manufacturing unit totalling 432,870ft2.
However, the scheme proposals include the removal of 9.88 acres of woodland, which is accessed via a public right of way that happens to bisect the site – it is an extremely popular walk for local residents.
Within two weeks of the original application being submitted, a full blown campaign to stop the development known as Save Weekley Hall Wood – featuring campaigners from Extinction Rebellion, the Green Party, Labour, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Kettering Eco Group was in full swing with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts as well as a Change.org petition.
That petition has now garnered 20,000 signatories and a vocal campaign group. Indeed such has been the furore over the proposed development that the council now has an extra three Green Party council members – not enough to prevent this latest application from being approved.
The approved plan was submitted by a property company operating on behalf of IM Kelly Automotive and The Buccleuch Estates.
In its recommendation to approve the proposal, the council said the development was a “logical expansion of the existing IM Kelly facility, creating 150 new jobs”.
Plans for the extension of Kettering Business Park have yet to be approved.