DIY retail giant B&Q are one of a number of local businesses and investors who say they could move away if Eastleigh Borough Council pursue plans to build a new Waste Recycling Centre next door to their headquarters on Stoney Croft Rise off Chestnut Avenue.
Eastleigh Borough Council have submitted a planning application to Hampshire County Council to build a new recycling centre to replace the existing congested facility on Woodside Avenue and an agent representing nearby businesses, landowners and tenants – including B&Q – has submitted an objection predicting there could be up to 400 job losses caused by tenants not renewing their leases if the recycling centre is built at Stoney Croft Rise.
The council need to relocate the Woodside recycling facility before they can allow the construction of new homes on former Woodside allotment land to proceed and earlier in the year a report circulated to members of Chandlers Ford Parish Council warned that a failure to relocate the Waste Recycling Centre could result in ‘reputational damage’ to the Borough Council.
However this prospect would seem to be of little concern to the consortium of businesses at Stony Croft rise and Chestnut Avenue Retail Park.
Luken Beck are acting as the planning consultants for B&Q, Horatio Properties, Jardine property group, Prupim, Icon and Blake Lapthorn and have submitted a letter of objection to HCC following a meeting with Eastleigh’s Chief Executive.
The letter of objection states:
“It has been made crystal clear to Eastleigh Borough Council by landowners, investors and tenants on the business park at Stoney Croft Rise that had a waste recycling facility had been in situ as per the current proposal, the millions of pounds worth of investment in the Borough and the County simply would not have happened the current high quality tenants who currently occupy the buildings, would not have taken space. If the current proposals take place then the leases will not be renewed resulting in vacant buildings.”
The objector’s claim that Eastleigh Borough Council would be in breach of its own planing policy if it built a waste tip on countryside in the strategic gap and that the waste recycling facility would be:
“More appropriate to an industrial location rather than a recognised high quality business park in a country side setting. “
The letter goes on to say:
“…a waste recycling centre is not commensurate with a business park. The ambiance one expects on a business park is clean, commodious with quiet enjoyment conducive to productive industry the reality of a tip is a line of vehicles, many with open trailers depositing household rubble and garden vegetation on the road.
“There is no dispute that the current recycling facility at Woodside Avenue needs to be upgraded or relocated but by the very nature of the activity an industrial estate is probably the most appropriate location of such a use the current proposal to site the large waste recycling fancily at Stoney Croft Rise is wholly inappropriate and contrary to policies and the development plan would ultimately result in a downgrading of the business park and result tin the loss of between 200 -400 jobs.”
B&Q caused shock waves in last month when it announced it would be axing 220 posts prompting Councillor Leader Keith house to recognise B&Q as ‘a major local employer’ and MP Chris Huhne told the Daily Echo, “Innovative employers like B&Q are crucial to our area”.
A spokesman for Luken Beck told Eastleigh News that they represented a number of businesses at Stoney Croft Rise and that the issue of job losses was not specific to any one employer however:
“Investors are concerned that a development of this nature, should it go ahead, would make it that much more difficult for them to let a property they have spent quite a lot of money investing in in order to get the good quality tenants that they need to for that location, purely and simply because they will have a waste recycling centre on their doorstep”
Luken Beck denied a suggestion that their clients were acting like ‘corporate nimbys’.
“Investors are looking after their interests, there could be potential job loses involved if they are unable to let their property and that’s not their fault”
The council have recently suffered setbacks to some of their major planning initiatives; the public examination of the local plan has been delayed due to unresolved ‘concerns’ and Sainsbury’s have pulled out of a deal which meant they would have funded a town regeneration project in return for a slice of the recreation ground.
B&Q only recently moved to their new 220,000 sq feet offices just over a year ago following a two year multimillion pound building programme.
See also: Dormice hold up Woodside Housing plans