The New Lane site went through Havant Borough Council’s planning committee last Thursday and councillors voted in favour of the project – paving the way for a complete redevelopment.
Objections to the plans at the 16.5-acre site, developed by the applicant Havant Property Investment LLP, were raised by residents and the Havant Civic Society, who were concerned about increased traffic.
The warehouse, in New Lane, will act as a last mile delivery hub, and has been developed with an undisclosed ‘end-user’ in mind.
The News understands that international online retail giant Amazon has been lined up to operate it.
Sources told The News that despite councillors approving the application, it was still tied up in legal discussions, with council officers working with the developer to secure the details of a section 106 agreement.
Cash from this will improve the junction of Crossland Drive, install crossing points, cycle lanes and bus stops. This needs to be sorted before the final planning permission is issued.
Both Amazon and Kingsbridge Estates, which acquired the site along with Bridges Fund Management in November, remained tight-lipped about the project.
Council leader Alex Rennie refused to confirm the operator but moved to reassure residents the council would work with them by setting up a forum to liaise between the operator, the developer and the residents.
He said: ‘This development will bring jobs and employment to the area. There has been an increase in unemployment down to Covid and this is an opportunity for a blue chip organisation to come to Havant and offer jobs and employment for the local area.
‘I have had a number of meetings with the developer regarding the traffic situation and I have put forward that we continue with a residents forum.’
Councillor Gary Hughes, who was on the planning committee said: ‘It may not be popular as it will bring an increase in traffic but it will provide up to 1,000 jobs and that’s a good thing for Havant.’
Six councillors voted for the plans, one against and one abstained. Questions were raised over why the operator had not been named.
Bob Comlay, from Havant Civic Society, said members were disappointed to see the plans go through to the next stage, especially as he had concerns over the accuracy of the traffic forecast.
A specialist company called Vectos, working for the applicant, forecast that there will be 2,415 movements from the site daily, compared to 1,950 when it was formerly run by Pfizer.
Mr Comlay said: ‘The maths does not add up, Havant needs employment but there are other sites nearby that could have been used, for example Brockhampton West. The real problem here is that it is not in the right place.’
Council documents show the proposed warehouse will provide a range of employment opportunities at a variety of skill levels, including warehouse staff, drivers, administration, managerial, among others.
The occupier’s estimate is that the development would create more than 70 permanent jobs, dozens of flexible work opportunities and hundreds of driver opportunities. In the busiest periods it said there will be over 200 people on site.
Documents from the applicant said: ‘The proposals have been designed with an intended international occupier in mind.’
The site was previously occupied by pharmaceutical firm Wyeth before it was taken over by Pfizer.