CONTROVERSIAL plans for a distribution park on the outskirts of Southampton are set to go before planning chiefs.

A final decision on plans for the complex is due tomorrow, with the firm behind the plans saying it could create 750 jobs.

However residents living nearby have opposed it, and handed in a petition with 188 signatures.

Evander Properties agreed a deal to buy the 16-acre plot of land next to the Daily Echo’s offices and handed in a planning application last year.

The firm returned with fresh plans last year after residents raised a number of concerns, and the size of the site has been reduced from 21,000sq m to 19,132 sq m.

If the plans are approved the site would contain three main units for storage, distribution and general business use.

There would also be a “linear park” of public land on the site from three to four acres.

Evander also say extra noise mitigation measures will be introduced, the general industrial use removed and say they want to widen Test Lane.

However residents living nearby remain concerned and all three ward councillors have also objected.

The petition handed in to the council lists potential issues that residents fear, such as “excessive” traffic problems, the risk of flooding and noise and light pollution that they say would be caused by the 24/7 operation of the site.

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And 181 representations have been made to the council about the plans, with residents listing concerns such as parking for residents overspilling into other streets, the impact of heavy goods vehicles on air quality and the visual impact.

Eugene McManus, the chairman of the Redbridge Residents’ Association, which has also lodged an objection, said: “We are concerned about the impact it will have on local residents.

“We all accepted a long time ago that there would be a development there, but this is inappropriate for the area.

“You’ve got buildings that are very high and will completely overshadow the residents’ bungalows.”

City council planners have recommended that the plans be approved subject to 31 conditions being agreed, at the next meeting of the authority’s planning and rights of way panel on Tuesday.

Neil Dickinson, a director at Evander, said: “Evander is looking forward to developing this site that has been allocated for employment development for many years. We are in dialogue with a number of occupiers who need direct road access to the Port of Southampton and the M271. The project has the potential to create up to 750 jobs.

“Evander Properties has undertaken extensive consultation with local stakeholders, statutory consultees and the planning authority to protect and enhance the locality amenity. We are pleased to see that the planning officer’s report endorses this view.”