IT is one of the most controversial planning issues in Southampton and could bring up to 400 jobs for the city.
Councillors will vote tomorrow whether a 43,000 square metre Lidl distribution centre on land next to the M271 motorway on the outskirts of Southampton should be given the green light.
The warehouse will allow Lidl to serve an area from Poole to Newbury and across to Brighton and will operate 24 hours a day.
The proposed plant will also see six houses being demolished to make way for the development which would stand up to 17 metres high on the current greenfield site south of Brownhill Way, near Adanac Park.
Lidl chiefs say the facility will create 300 full-time positions and 100 part-time posts, and they will be looking for a “local” workforce to fill as many of the positions as possible.
The jobs will include warehouse operatives, office administrators and transport and logistics jobs.
Business leaders in the city have voiced their support for the centre and the jobs boost it could bring to the city.
Business Solent chief executive Sally Lynskey said she welcomed the Lidl distribution centre saying the jobs are much needed.
She said: “At a time of so much economic uncertainty, it is crucial that a development such as this is given the green light – it will be a really positive piece of news for the region.”
However, objections to the planning application have been made by residents living nearby and Holy Family Primary School in Mansel Road West.
The school says the industrial estate near its boundary is “not the correct or safe environment” for a primary school.
The school also has concerns over lorries flowing through the area 24 hours a day, and the size of the centre.
Residents from Lower Brownhill Road and the surrounding area signed a 35-strong petition against the facility last year.
One of them, Ken Collins, 61, said: “The development is inappropriate and is on the wrong side of the motorway. We have got an industrial estate nearby so why not use that.”
Lidl chiefs moved quickly to allay the fears of the school and people living in the area.
They said they will make sure no lorries go past Holy Family Primary School, and added that more than six acres of landscaping work will be carried out along the full length of the site’s boundary to obscure views from all directions.
The council are keen for Lidl to put solar panels on the roof, and would like to negotiate a way in which it will benefit residents living nearby, through either cheaper electricity or a cooperative dividend scheme.
As the site extends over the authority boundary, the planning application has been lodged with both Southampton City and Test Valley Borough councils.
Officers from Southampton City Council have already recommended approval of the facility, and councillors will vote tomorrow.
Members of Test Valley Borough Council are expected to review it later this month.
Lidl signed a deal with Barker-Mill Estates which owns the land, last year.