A NEW warehouse is to be built in Bicester on land that is not designated for commercial space after plans were approved by Cherwell District Council.

The building developed by Tritax Symmetry will be a new parcel distribution facility for delivery service DPD at Symmetry Park off Morrell Way in the south of the town.

Spanning 60,000sq ft, the warehouse will join another three units already at the site and have a number of 'eco-friendly' features such as 30 electric car charging points and 25 per cent of the roof will be covered in solar panels.

But although the application was approved, some councillors believe it was the wrong move, particularly as it is to be built on land that is not allocated for development under the Local Plan.

Conservative councillor Dan Sames said: “I don’t support it. My view is that there is adequate employment land already allocated and that this should have been used first before releasing extra land.

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“I think it shows that the warehouses already built or given planning permission at Symmetry Park were speculative developments and that the land there could have been used for DPD instead before looking at a new site."

Symmetry Park is already home to Bentley Designs and Medline Services and has another newly-completed warehouse (Unit B) available for occupation. Planning consent has also been given for a 334,000sq ft warehouse (Unit C) on the site.

The reason given for building another warehouse is so that DPD can move from its current location at Bicester Commercial Park to a bigger facility and once it is fully operational, it could create up to 250 new jobs.

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However, councillors felt members should have focussed more on the building itself as opposed to the developers' reasons for wanting to build it.

Indeendent councillor John Broad, who is not part of the planning committee but watched the meeting, said: “Members got sucked into the story about DPD needing to move out of their current premises and forgot about the effects that the building will have. The site is not part of the Local Plan so it should have been thrown out.

“Oxfordshire County Council highways team also did not do a good enough job. They don’t look at the cumulative effect that applications like this have on Bicester.

"There are so many HGVs travelling through the area and hundreds of DPD vans on the A41 trying to deliver will make things worse.”

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Independent councillor Nick Cotter said: "I am really furious that, once again, the Conservatives have voted through yet another warehouse.

“Leader of the council Barry Wood in particular voted it through which I am really shocked about. In my view he should be taking a lead in opposing over-development and this land was outside the existing Local Plan."

Planning officers said that sometimes they have to be mindful of other considerations outside of the Local Plan.

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They reminded members that under the National Planning Policy Framework it says that planning policies and decisions should help create the conditions in which businesses can invest expand and adapt and that economic growth and productivity should be supported.

Mr Wood said: "The national planning framework effectively says that planning should be pro-growth. What officers are saying is that the benefits of this outweigh the fact that its outside the local plan."

There are plans to build a ‘logistics hub’ made up of warehouses in South Oxfordshire too.

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Residents in Waterstock, a village near Thame, are worried about developer Greystoke Land’s proposals to build on Waterstock Golf Club.

The site is next to Waterstock Flood Meadows nature reserve and residents and conservationists have said it would be an ‘abhorrent’ blight on the countryside.