By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Residents are concerned that extended delivery hours for HGV vehicles to the former RAF Newton Aerodrome is an accident waiting to happen.
Councillors at Rushcliffe Borough Council will decide on August 11 whether to allow applicant, Simon Waterfield, the chance to increase the hours of delivery and distribution to the site in Wellington Avenue.
The site comprises of several former aircraft hangers originally constructed as part of the former Royal Air Force Station at Newton, which, until relatively recently, accommodated a wide range of buildings and bunkers.
Except for the former control tower, which has been converted to residential use, and the larger hangars, the former RAF buildings have now been demolished and the site is predominantly cleared.
A residential development of 528 homes has also commenced.
Currently, deliveries to and the distribution associated with some of the existing hangars including plant and equipment can only take place between 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday) and 9am to 1pm (Saturday but not on Sundays and Bank Holidays).
The variation on the planning application wants to see the hours extended between the hours of 7am to 7pm (Monday to Friday) and 8am to 4pm (Saturday, but not on Sundays and Bank Holidays).
Cllr David Simms (Cons), ward councillor for East Bridgford, has objected to the proposals, stating: “The increased hours will lead to increased likelihood of an accident leading to injury, ill health, or death of persons as a result of the business park’s activities.”
He also states the “increased local noise and environmental pollution” will affect residents’ “health and sleep or rest or quality of life.”
Newton Parish Council also says it “strongly objects” to the additional hours as it will increase “noise, dust and vehicle pollution adversely affecting the health of children and pedestrians”.
They also object on the grounds of safety, as the vehicles already “speed along this road and the situation would get much worse”.
The applicant argues the amended hours will allow “greater flexibility” and that Wellington Avenue is no longer the only access point into the site following the opening of the link road.
An environmental health officer initially raised concerns over noise, but a noise assessment said the proposed increased hours of use “should have no, or a not significant, effect” on residents.
The council also worked with the applicant to come up with the new proposed delivery hours as part of the application. Prior to these revisions, there were 151 letters of objection.
Residents said: “There are daily occurrences of lorries driving through the estate due to following their sat nav rather than the signs and becoming stuck and having to dangerously turnaround.
“Pedestrian safety – as neither of the two main roads in Newton have pavements and being in such close proximity to lorries is scary and an accident almost guaranteed.
“With more of us working from home now we do not relish the thought of the rumbling of lorries from early in the morning until later at night along with the extra pollution this will bring.”
A highway officer said the extended opening hours may result in an increased overlap between the working hours of the hangars and local residents which is not ideal, but this in itself doesn’t represent a serious enough risk to highway safety.
Council planning officers have recommended that planning permission is granted.
They concluded: “The application has been amended during its determination, reducing the length of the extra hours initially sought.
“Neither the Highway Authority or Environmental Health officers are objecting the proposal.
“Officers consider that the proposal would, as a result of the revisions, not have any significant adverse impact on highway safety or amenity.
“Therefore, officers do not consider that permitting an extra hour in the morning and an extra hour in the evening of weekdays, and an extra four hours (one in the morning and three in the afternoon) on Saturdays would have the significant impact required to refuse the application.”
Councillors will meet on Thursday, August 11, to determine the fate of the application.