Business, council and residents in row over storage site plans

BUSINESSES say hundreds of local jobs will be safeguarded if planners allow a controversial development near Goole to go ahead.

A consortium, S&D Imports, wants to turn about 15 acres of land at Airmyn into a large storage and distribution centre, housing three local companies.

However, many local residents object to yet more industrialisation in the area.

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NKL Automotive is one of the three businesses seeking to relocate. It is not a member of the consortium but has an option to buy about half the site, which would be used over time to store as many as 1,000 cars, and for offices and workshops.

Managing director Nick Laister said there had been a "lot of hype" about the development.

He said: "We are here, we want to progress and we'd like to stay local. It's one of several options but it's the only long-term option we have in East Yorkshire.

"We employ near on 300 people and basically we have to go forward.

"There are a lot of farm buildings which are used for industrial uses and lorries parked around the place, it's a bit of an eyesore.

"If a properly landscaped development could go there, it could look much better.

"We can't really see what the problem is – like a lot of things , there's always a lot of hype with something that is new, going forward and progressive."

P&D Transport want to use three acres as a transport depot, with warehouses and offices, while SGS wants to build an office and warehouse with parking. Between them, they employ 350 staff.

The plans have run into opposition from local residents – and the local authority has received 28 letters from residents objecting to the increase in noise and pollution, saying there are better sites elsewhere.

Writing in their support, Brigg and Goole Tory MP Andrew Percy said: "Local residents are concerned that the proposal would impinge on green belt land which protects the village and are worried that this is a precursor to more development in the future.

"Residents are concerned about impact on visual amenity and increased industrialisation, including the Rusholme wind farm in Selby and the site of two major power stations.

"Residents have made the point that the land around the village is highly valued as it offers a break in what is an industrial landscape."

Airmyn Parish Council has also strongly objected, saying the site, on the outskirts of a "non-selected" settlement is contrary to the authority's own plans, and it will have a "great adverse impact on visual amenity".

East Riding Council's economic development team backs the consortium. They state: "Many site options have been appraised but none of them supply the required characteristics. Other sites including Capitol Park and Ozone do not meet their requirements."

But council planning officers say that while the surrounding landscape "is by no means undeveloped", the sheer size and scale of what is proposed "would be difficult to integrate visually and physically with its surroundings and would fail to respect the local landscape distinctiveness of the area."

It says "insufficient justification" has been given for overriding policies which seek to protect the countryside.

The officials conclude: "Whilst the employment benefits of the proposal are recognised, it is considered that support cannot be given to this application on the grounds that it does not satisfy the policy considerations for developing large-scale employment sites in the open countryside."

They are recommending refusal when members of the planning committee meet at County Hall in Beverley on Thursday.