Major logistics firm lodges plans for development near Theale
The largest logistics development firm in Europe has submitted plans to West Berkshire Council for the construction of three flexible-use units on land north of the A4, near Theale.
The site concerned is currently greenfield and is located across the M4 from the Calcot IKEA and Dunelm branches, in a location singled out by the developer, Pannatoni, for its proximity to pre-existing logistics infrastructure and to London.
The proposals, lodged with the council in August, make provision for storage and office use, and Pannatoni states that it hopes to maintain – and, in some cases, enhance – the rural character of the surrounding area.
It said: "Wherever possible the existing hedgerows and groups of trees along the site boundaries will be retained.
"These existing landscape features will be reinforced with new planting of similar species and character type to help integrate the development into the surrounding context and provide visual amenity for the residents along High Street and Hoad Way.
"Within the development, the roads and pedestrian footpaths will be bordered with grass verges containing mixed native bulb planting, blocks of ornamental planting and trees planted within hedgerows.
"The proposed planting will vary in its function and scale in consideration to its surroundings.
"Taller structural planting will be used to help screen the proposed building elevations, sub-station, car park and service yard areas, and low level ornamental planting will be located in areas used by vehicles and pedestrians to create a safe, usable and attractive setting for visitors and employees.
"The tree avenues will be formed with alternating species to provide a widened contrast in seasonal interest and to increase both biodiversity and biosecurity.
"The hedgerows will be planted with a mix of native species to create valuable wildlife habitats."
Objectors to the plans say that the IKEA store has already put a major strain on Theale's High Street, which could be worsened by the Pannatoni units.
Moreover, they note sightings of uncommon species, including muntjac deer and kites, in the field's vicinity, and warn that the development could drive these away.
The full planning application can be found under reference 21/02029/COMIND on West Berkshire Council's planning portal.