Controversial Lambourn warehouse on AONB recommended for approval
PLANNERS have recommended approval of a controversial 10,000 sq m warehouse on a greenfield site.
The stance will infuriate opponents of the project by Walker Logistics in Lambourn Woodlands.
However, a decision will only be taken following a debate by members of West Berkshire Council's western area planning committee.
The item is on the agenda for the committee's next meeting on Wednesday, April 28.
Walker Logistics is seeking outline permission for a new warehouse building with ancillary office floorspace, an aircraft museum building and associated access, car parking and landscaping.
The company has threatened to leave West Berkshire if permission is refused for the project on 5.5 hectares of greenfield land adjacent to the disused Membury Airfield.
A company spokesman, Charlie Walker, said: “Walker Logistics are grateful to West Berkshire officers for helping us resolve issues to their satisfaction with our expansion plans.
"If permitted, our new logistics warehouse and aircraft museum will deliver 200 permanent new jobs, safeguard existing temporary jobs and also create around 180 temporary full-time jobs in construction and in relevant supply chains.
“Our plans will create a sustainable extension to our existing site, only visible from a short stretch of Ramsbury Road.
"We have shown...that the site fits logically between the Membury Industrial Park and Walker Logistics’ existing site, with a minimal impact on the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and the two houses which look out onto the Trinity Grain Silos and trees.”
He added: “We are pleased to have received support from local businesses and organisations, but mindful of the objections raised by some residents."
Mr Walker said a consequent traffic survey indicated a "limited impact on local traffic".
Critics have pointed to Government planning guidance which states development in an AONB should require ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Lambourn Parish Council has joined protesters by lodging a formal objection, stating the development would be unacceptable in an AONB, would set a precedent for more green fields development, would create additional vehicle movements and "development creep".