Harworth Estates Ltd has now formally submitted, as expected, an amended application for a Business Park at the former Daw Mill Colliery in North Warwickshire.
Local residents reacted angrily to the initial proposal for large scale warehousing and storage, which would have resulted in hundreds of HGVs daily trying to negotiate narrow country roads. Public meetings were held in the local villages and at a meeting with District Council Leaders Harworth Estates were left in no doubt that the initial plans would be rejected.
Harworth Estates have amended the planning application. The key changes are:
· The overall quantum of new built floor space proposed is reduced to 52,424 sq. m (Gross Internal Area) compared with 70,280 sq. m originally proposed. This is just over a 25% reduction in space.
· There is no “B8 warehousing development” proposed in the amended application. It instead seeks to increase the amount of B2 general industrial development. They claim this increases the potential to attract significantly more high-skilled jobs to the site than the previous application.
· They claim the amendments would lead to a reduction of over 70% in the predicted two-way HGV movements on local roads from the previous application.
Mike O’Brien says that the amendments are not enough. He said,
“They still don’t get it. Local people don’t want HGVs using this site. None. HGVs are entirely unsuitable for the narrow country lanes through Shustoke, Coleshill, Kingsbury, Baxterley, Fillongley and Atherstone. They may have reduced the size of the problem, but they’ve not eliminated it. HGV’s are still a problem. They have a rail siding. They don’t need any HGV’s.
“The position on this site is that there is an agreement between the County Council and the previous owners of Daw Mill Colliery to return it to greenbelt. Local residents have not been unreasonable, but the real risk for Harworth Estates is that local positions are now hardening against them. There is a need for jobs in the area after the loss of hundreds of jobs when the colliery closed last year, but it’s not jobs at any price. The coal lorries were a problem for local villages for years. They don’t want a problem with HGVs that is even worse.
“This is too small a concession and it’s come too late. Residents living near the site have done research and they know that other former colliery sites owned by this company have been turned into solar panel farms. There is an emerging view in some nearby villages that the site could be turned into a solar panel farm. It would make money for Harworth Estates but not so much. Others living further from the site think there ought to be some development to create high skill jobs. But no one is prepared to tolerate HGVs.
“Harworth Estates need to wake up and smell the coffee. They are building stronger opposition by making concessions that don’t deal with the HGV problem. They need to go back to the drawing board again.”
See Picture of Mike O’Brien speaking at recent public meeting on Daw Mill held in Coleshill.