FURIOUS neighbours have vowed to fight plans for a giant industrial complex on the doorstep of their Southampton suburb.
Nearly 100 people packed a public meeting protesting against proposals for major development off Test Lane, Redbridge.
Residents fear that offices and warehouses planned for land close to the Daily Echo’s offices and print works will loom over their homes “like a prison” and lead to a loss of green space.
They complained its 24-hour operation will cause excessive noise, extra pollution and traffic chaos in an area already used as a rat-run by drivers avoiding the M271.
And community activists emphasised their fierce resistance to the proposed 24-hour site by launching a petition opposing the scheme.
Developers Evander Properties faced a barrage of angry questions from residents at last night’s meeting in a marquee at The Ship Inn in Old Redbridge Road.
Company director Neil Dickinson was often interrupted by jeers as he tried to reassure the community he was listening to their views ahead of submitting a planning application to Southampton City Council in September for the site he insists will create up to 750 jobs.
Pre-planning documents show the 16-acre distribution and industrial park’s units would be 45ft tall and contain 305 parking spaces.
Redbridge Residents Association committee member Mark Masters said the size of the development was in conflict with proposals to use the formal landfill site for light industrial use and said: “You are going to have heavy traffic movement, 45ft high slabs of buildings and extra noise and lights.
“It goes totally against recommendations.”
Resident Keith Dumper, 46, said: “It will be like a prison with all those concrete blocks around.”
Neighbours also feared it will destroy open space used by dog walkers, families and by wildlife and migrating birds.
But Mr Dickinson stressed the buildings could be slightly reduced in size and a bund wall and trees would block out noise.
He said the company would put measures in place to prevent vehicles and HGVs turning left onto Test Lane.
He told the meeting: “We think it is a site that will create a lot of jobs and bring significant investment to Southampton.”
The residents association will be doorknocking and leafleting residents in the coming days with their petition.