PROTESTERS will mount their last stand tonight against plans for a huge distribution park on the outskirts of Southampton.

Planners are set to approve a complex in Redbridge which has sparked two years of bitter dispute.

The developer says it will create 750 jobs but campaigners fear its 24-hour operation will bring traffic, noise and conservation problems.

Southampton City Council boss Simon Letts has rejected claims the leadership is pressuring planners to secure cash from selling the public land.

The 16-acre field off Test Lane would be developed into two storage and distribution units and an industrial warehouse.

Redbridge independent council candidate Denise Wyatt claimed the planning meeting was being rushed through before May’s election.

“The Labour council needs the money from the sale of this land for its white elephant schemes like the arts complex which Redbridge residents feel doesn’t benefit them,” she said.

“If officers are having political pressure put on them because they’re desperate for the money, that’s very wrong.

“This is going to have a devastating impact on those residents down there.”

Dismissing the claims, Cllr Letts said: “It’s not being spent on the arts complex, that’s already been paid for.

“The purpose of selling the land is getting it back into productive use. It’s been designated for industrial use for a decade and nothing’s been done there”

Proceeds from the sale would be spent on things like roads, play areas and public toilets, Cllr Letts said. The agreed price is currently confidential.

Nearly 130 people have objected to the scheme online in addition to a 190-signature petition filed last year.

Graeme McAllister, of Coniston Road, said: “The sheer size of these enormous industrial units will have a devastating visual impact on what is essentially a residential area.

"The scale and badly thought out positioning of these imposing units will completely dwarf the local homes, changing the look and feel of the area to the detriment of residents forever.”

Planning permission was granted in October 2015, subject to terms which will be considered tonight.

Redbridge Residents Association demanded 15 conditions, including that the developer provide blackout blinds and triple glazing for those affected.

The council and developer rejected most requests but agreed to replace Gover Road’s speed bumps with pinch points and indicated 20mph speed limits could be imposed on roads besides Test Lane.

Officials also agreed tougher noise restrictions and a ban on marketing boards facing homes.

The planning and rights of way panel sits from 6pm at Southampton Civic Centre.