COMMUNITY leaders in a Southampton suburb are to hold an emergency residents’ meeting as they prepare to fight plans for a giant industrial complex on their doorstep.
People living near the site of the proposed major development in Test Lane, Redbridge, next to the Daily Echo’s offices and print works, fear that the planned warehouses and offices could lead to the area being swamped with more traffic, and would mean the loss of a green space used by dog walkers and families.
Now Redbridge Residents’ Association will be holding a meeting at The Ship Inn, Old Redbridge Road, on Monday, July 14, from 7.30pm, which will be attended by developers.
Association secretary Dave Smith said: “All in all it should prove to be a lively debate.
“We have known for some time that the council has earmarked this field, which was once a landfill site, for disposal and the residents have accepted the fact that some light industrial buildings would be situated on this plot of land.
“What they are not happy about is the sheer size of the proposed buildings and the 24-hour operation side of this. The amount of traffic that will increase on the local roads will make living here a nightmare, not to mention the possible disruption and damage to the Ramsar site that is the Lower Test Marshes, looked after by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Nature Trust.
“The association will be assisting all the residents, members or not, in the forthcoming battle to try to limit the size of the development.
“We are not ‘nimbys’ and fully realise that the council needs to sell the land to try to help balance the books. But a large 24-hour distribution centre in a residential area is not in keeping with the local area.”
The developers behind the project, Evander Properties Ltd, insist that the modern distribution and industrial park would create up to 750 jobs in its construction and operation.
During an exhibition of the plans last month, its architects moved to allay concerns about traffic, reassuring residents that lorries and HGVs would not use Gover Road and that measures would be in place to deter workers from turning left out of the site and on to Test Lane.
They will be attending next Monday’s meeting and will give a presentation.
Ward councillors Andy Pope and Cathy McEwing will also attend.
The land was chosen because of its location near the busy Port of Southampton and its easy access to the M271.
Pre-planning documents show that the units would be 45ft tall and there would be parking spaces for 305 cars.
The 16-acre plot was previously a gravel extraction site before being filled in with construction waste.
An Evander Properties spokesman said: “We welcome feedback on our emerging proposals to allow draft plans to be refined ahead of the formal submission of a planning application later this summer.”