Recently you kindly published my concerns about a planning application for a large warehouse site to be determined at the Vale of White Horse District Council planning committee meeting of May 21.
As the Mail has subsequently reported, the planning committee refused approval by 10 to three votes, with one abstention, which is to be applauded.
The planning officer, who recommended approval, claimed that the decision was between the local economy or planning consideration. Since he recommended an approval overriding planning considerations, he must have done so on the basis of the local economy; but this does not bear scrutiny, as many of the planning committee members must have reasoned.
The question is, what is in the interests of the local economy? Is it a 3,000 employee warehouse site, the traffic from which will have severe negative consequences on the many businesses already close by the location and destined to grow? Is it the job opportunities, which will be mostly low-paid and relatively low-skilled, in an area with less than 1,000 registered unemployed and with a high to medium skill offering? Is it loss of jobs already accommodated at the site?
Surely this site, if appropriately developed, would offer far more added value to the local economy than poorly paid jobs, having to be largely filled by people from outside the area, who thereby will not be spending in the local economy?
It is time to move on from an ill-judged warehouse proposal and invite the landowners, Diageo, to come up with an idea that will provide good quality, well-paid jobs, consistent with the Vale’s development plans for high technology industry. Such a development will provide a continuity of employment for the upcoming generation, who will be able to move into the housing currently being planned locally, stay in the area and actually contribute to the local economy.
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