Residents hit out at bid to change rules for New Lane Havant distribution site - which Amazon is thought to be lined up for

Residents have spoken out against a planning application that would allow the occupiers of a former Pfizer site - rumoured to be Amazon - to monitor their own traffic.

By Toby Paine
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 4:55 am
An aerial view of Havant, showing the Pfizer site in New Road. Picture: CJB Photography
An aerial view of Havant, showing the Pfizer site in New Road. Picture: CJB Photography

In September a planning application was granted to redevelop 32 New Lane in Havant into a last mile delivery hub.

Havant Borough Council approved a monitoring mechanism that allows them to install traffic counters across all three roads in and out of the site. The data would feed into Hampshire County Council’s permanent traffic count database.

Other planning conditions such as limiting vehicle movements to 2,415 a day and enforcing delivery vans be branded and clearly identifiable were approved.

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The current application seeks to amend these conditions to give the occupiers more control over the growth of traffic - contributing to the commercial viability of the site.

Bob Comlay, from Havant Civic Society said it’s extremely important that the council rejects the application.

‘They’ll only be monitoring for one hour of the day in the morning and one hour in the afternoon which is what they call peak hours,’ he said.

‘Those peak hours are irrelevant for a 24/7 operation - doing it only twice a day for just an hour, twice a year in a five day week so there’s just 20 hours of monitoring.

‘It says they’ll give that data to the council a year in arrears, so for the first year it’s completely out of control.’

Mr Comlay also said that 2,415 vehicles is an ‘undercooked’ estimate and that the delivery vehicles should be branded to avoid ‘rat-runs’ in residential areas.

‘There’s one page which is a single table which goes from 6am through to 5am - it gives the number of vehicles coming in and out of the site every hour over that 24-hour period,’ he said.

‘There’s virtually no vehicles going in between 11am and 6am and yet you’ve got 200 workers on each shift.

‘At midnight you’ve got 200 workers clocking out and they’re not going to be using public transport at that time and you’ve got 200 workers clocking in.

‘I would expect 400 vehicles or maybe at least 200 if people were car sharing - what they’ve quoted in there is just the commercial vehicle movements.

‘And 95 per cent of the deliveries are heading out of town so they’re trying to get to either the A27 or the A3(M).

‘The only way they can do that is through Leigh Park to the Asda roundabout or down through Park Road North to the Tesco roundabout or through the rat runs down New Lane.

‘You have to make sure that all the vans are branded - Amazon don’t because they have this delivery service partner model.

‘Putting something like Amazon in that New Lane site right in the heart of the town centre effectively - is going to be a disaster for traffic.

‘The right site would be either Dunsbury Park or Brockhampton West which is now called the Solent Distribution park.

‘It’s extremely important that the council rejects the application - if they don’t then they have no leverage to charge Amazon for increasing their volumes.’

Fellows Planning, listed as the application agent, points towards the retail giant in its planning statement by mentioning ‘Delivery Service Partners’ - the same name as Amazon’s delivery programme.

A spokesperson from Fellows Planning said: ‘The current application seeks to refine the controls on the consent so that they are more specific and effective.

‘In line with the council’s requirements, an independent company will be employed to use advanced technology to closely monitor traffic – including the direction and levels of van movements.

‘We are confident that these stringent, independent measures, in line with management plans for the site, will reassure residents that the occupier will be working within the agreed routing strategy at all times.’

Havant Borough Council was approached for comment but did not reply.