Tell the Council your views now - even though its website said you can't...
JLR said, a few years ago, that a development on the proposed site “would cause significant harm to the visual amenity”. Now they want to go ahead.
The public consultation on this was open until early February. Here’s how to tell the Council’s Planners what you think. You still can.
STOP PRESS - JLR's application is likely to be considered by the Planning Committee at their April 26th Meeting, not in March.
The images in this story are artist's impressions of the proposed development, submitted by JLR to the Council.
SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM TO TAKE PART IN OUR QUICK SURVEY
Jump straight to the details of how to send the Council your comments, if you wish.
Just before Christmas JLR submitted their Planning Application to build a new Logistics Centre on greenbelt land in Elmdon. This resulted in an (initially) ridiculous deadline for objections and comments. We encourage you to tell the Council your views as soon as possible; details are at bottom of this story.
New Deadline for Comments and Objections – But it's flexible
Lib Dem Councillors Martin Hewings and Glenis Slater complained to Council officers about the short time residents had for submitting objections and comments.
They told us the official consultation would end on February 3rd. But they added that “While responses are encouraged by this date, all responses are considered by the local planning authority up until the decision is made.” We encourage you to respond as soon as you can - but later is better than never.
The Consultation Has Not Ended
The Council website, until January 13th, said the consultation deadline has passed. The Council describe this as a glitch. We say it was misleading, and it isn’t good enough. People with strong feelings who tried to respond during this time may have given up, assuming they were too late.
What’s more, supporting documents were still being added to the planning application online in mid-January! Anyone submitting objections by the original deadline didn’t have all the facts at their disposal.
Read the Submission
The details of the application are here. There are a lot of documents to read, but it pays to take the time.
(If that link stops working, click here and search for application number PL/2016/03131/PPFL)
What will the Logistics Centre Look Like?
To see what it would look like and the impact on the landscape, first look at the document "LVIA PART 1 OF 2". Page 7 of this has a map indicating the various viewpoints for which they’ve created artists impressions, each of which has a number.
You can then look through the various "PART 1 OF 6 VERIFIED VIEWPOINTS AND METHODOLOGY" etc. documents to see the current and proposed views.
'Significant harm' to the visual amenity?
'Significant harm' was a phrase JLR used a few years ago, when describing why they didn’t want to put the dispatch area on the football club side of the road - where they now want to put the LOC! (See section 5.11 of "Statement of very special circumstances".)
We agree. Building the LOC will cause significant harm to the visual amenity of the area!
We were rather surprise to see JLR describing the existing roundabout (Damson Parkway/Damson Lane/JLR Gate D2) as operating "within capacity" at all times including shift changeovers ("Transport" document, section 5.46).
They say that a 13% increase in peak hour traffic using the roundabout by 2026 leaves it still "within capacity" with no adverse impact. This seems unlikely for traffic trying to get out of Damson Lane at peak times.
The proposed cycle path seems good in principle (we’d like to see more cycling) but it involves having to cross a major road, part way along it, at the busiest roundabout.
The Wildlife Trust which manages the Elmdon Manor Local Nature Reserve, has already objected to this development. It is concerned about the impact, both on the adjacent Wildlife Reserve and Local Wildlife Site, and on the wildlife that currently moves to and from the wildlife sites via this location.
The Trust objects to the way the development would isolate the Reserve and Site and is concerned that the site contains confirmed roosts for four different species of bats in 10 locations. They say the impact on the bats should be a material consideration when deciding on this application.
The proposed spillage of light into the woodland habitats of the Local Nature Reserve is another concern, and The Trust called on the decision to be delayed until the Biodiversity Impact Assessment is submitted. It’s due in late February – meaning that the full impact of the development on biodiversity won’t be known until after the deadline for objections to the Council.
We also understand that some quite rare bird species have been seen nesting in the local area and we have been told that the RSPB will be raising objections too.
Tell the Council Your Views Now
Even if you have told your Lib Dem Councillors your views, you must separately tell the Council as part of the consultation on this specific planning application. For a few weeks after February 3rd your comments will still be considered - but we can't say for how long.
You can comment via the Planning Submission website, by clicking on "Login and make a comment".
Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Planning & Building Control, Solihull MBC, Council House, Manor Square, Solihull, B91 3QB. In both these cases, quote the planning application reference PL/2016/03131/PPFL.
We would also like to hear your views and ideas. The more evidence your Lib Dem team have, the better. Please use the form below. You can copy the text from your email to the Council or online form, and paste it into our form, if you like.