Plans for an 11,000 square metre warehouse in Bognor Regis were unanimously deferred last week.
Lysander and Hanbury Properties want permission to build the warehouse at Oldlands Farm, close to the Rolls Royce warehouse and Lidl. The proposed warehouse would be more than 11,000 square metres and would be used as a ‘last mile’ distribution centre for goods bound for home delivery in the area.
Plans show overnight parking for 512 vans at the site as well as 193 parking spaces.
Rory Spiller, an associate director at Vectos transport consultants, spoke in support of the scheme on Wednesday (27 April). “As the last mile distribution unit, this site will be the penultimate stop for goods before they are sorted and sent out for delivery in the local area,” he said. Goods would arrive from a regional distribution centre before being sorted and loaded on to vans and sent out for delivery. Goods would typically arrive on HGVs during night-time hours, away from the network peaks, and would then be sorted within the building. Vans will be loaded for an entire day’s worth of deliveries, which means that they will not need to return to the site, or make multiple trips to and from the site in any one day."
Mr Spiller said that on site parking for vans could allow for an electric fleet in future and added there would be ‘no severe impacts’ on local roads. But this did not allay traffic concerns from Arun District Council’s Planning Committee.
Although the warehouse was recommended for approval by planning officers and could see developer contributions of around £100,000 towards traffic mitigation at the A259 and A27, the committee deferred a decision.
This, they said, is to allow for further information on exactly where the money will be spent, as well as to address concerns around flooding. Despite the developer’s insistence that HGVs would arrive at the site overnight, councillors were concerned that extra vehicles could worsen queuing in the area.
Ricky Bower (Con, East Preston) said the contributions were ‘not a lot’ and could be spent on schemes which would have ‘no effect’ on alleviating traffic in the immediate area.
“We must have detail before we agree,” he said.
Council officers said the contribution amounts were requested by National Highways and could be spent on A259 pedestrian and cycling improvements as well as A27 junction improvements- though this is yet to be decided.
Committee chairman Terence Chapman (Con, East Preston) pointed out that there could be a 2.4 per cent increase in vehicle movements during the morning peak and a 3.5 per cent increase during the evening peak – something a highways authority representative said ‘would not have a severe impact on local residents’.
Serena Page, a partner at DWD planning consultants, said the proposals could bring employment benefits.
“The site has been allocated for employment development for well over a decade so to realise the council’s ambitions will be a great achievement. “It’s very clear from the last few years how important the logistics sector is to our daily lives, but what is less well understood is the value of that sector in employment terms.
“In January, the British Property Federation published a really interesting research paper which looked at just that. It found that the industrial and logistics sector accounts for 14 per cent of the English economy and that the number of jobs in the sector has grown by 26 per cent in the last 10 years.
“The development will generate a significant number of local jobs, both during the construction and operational phases.”
Hugh Coster (Ind, Aldwick East) said he wanted to support employment in the area but emphasised that this needed ‘proper highways arrangements’ to minimise impacts on residents.