Gazeley, a leading global developer of logistics warehouses and distribution parks, and major landowner Harworth Estates, have negotiated full planning permission for an 850,000 ft² (78,996 m²) single-sided, rail-connected warehouse at G. Park Ashby de la Zouch, following a four year application process.
The 86 acre project is a joint venture between the two companies and the plans for the site include the potential for the creation of up to 1,000 new jobs.
The permission follows lengthy and complex negotiations with the local planning authority and is the first site within Gazeley's UK portfolio to include rail connection. The site was previously used for the distribution of coal from local surface mines and is within a prime East Midlands location, the core of the logistics heartland.
Don Morgan, Director at Gazeley, commented: "The planning approval at Ashby is the culmination of many years of hard work and determination, not just by Gazeley but also our partners at Harworth Estates. The site has been one of the more complex planning procedures we have undertaken. We have had to overcome a number of difficult technical issues at a time of considerable change in the planning process. Success demonstrates our ability to pilot a very difficult proposal through the system."
Eddie Peat, Director at Harworth Estates, said: "As custodian of almost 200 former coal sites, Harworth Estates is committed to helping create jobs for the communities in which we work and to develop a truly sustainable re-use for each location. G. Park has the potential for up to a thousand new jobs and the consent enables the economic re-use of the rail connection, an important infrastructure asset that would have otherwise been destroyed."
Planning permission comes with obligations
Planning permission for the site has been granted on the basis of a number of significant obligations to be undertaken by Gazeley and Harworth Estates.
As part of their joint plan, Gazeley and Harworth Estates proposed a £50,000 (approx. 63,706) contribution to the National Forest; retention and maintenance of the existing rail sidings; improvement of the rail connection back to Burton-on-Trent to allow passage of large W8 size freight containers; and completion of extensive ecology works, which will include a stream diversion and one of the largest translocations of great crested newts in the UK.
Strategically located to the south of Ashby, in the North West Leicestershire District, G. Park Ashby de la Zouch benefits from excellent connectivity with the UK's transport network. As well as access to the M42/A42 at Junction 13, the site is connected by an existing rail siding to the Leicester to Burton-on-Trent railway line.
Commenting on its strategic location, Don Morgan, said: "G. Park Ashby de la Zouch will be a unique site and will offer potential customers an almost unparalleled level of multi modal connection with the rest of the UK. As anticipated we have already received interest in the site, and now, with the planning permission in place, we will pursue negotiations with these companies and commence a targeted phase of marketing."
Network Rail now regards this site as one of the 10 best opportunities in the UK to attract more freight onto the rail system.
This planning permission supersedes an earlier one relating to the restoration of the site, following use for coal distribution, which would have involved the removal of the railway sidings.
Source: Red Consultancy