Community will be “severely affected” by turning over Poyle Green Belt for Heathrow warehousing, says Parish Council
Colnbrook Parish Council was among objectors to Slough Borough Council’s proposal to turn over Green Belt in Colnbrook and Poyle to warehousing to support Heathrow’s expansion plans, insisting the community would be “severely affected”.
It came as little surprise to many that Slough wanted to release Green Belt land to support the further expansion of Heathrow – even beyond the land take required for a Third Runway. But there were a significant number of objections to the suggestion that Green Belt land in Colnbrook and Poyle could be “released for employment” in the revamped Local Plan for Slough, the Council has acknowledged.
Although the Issues and Options consultation did not contain any specific sites for development in the parish it contained a number of “spatial options” including one targeting release of Green Belt in the parish to allow for the development of new warehousing space to support the expansion of the airport’s expanded freight aspirations.
Ironically the proposal to re-designate Green Belt for warehousing to support Heathrow comes in spite of the Council’s vigorous defence against Goodman building three massive warehouses for the SIFE project.
A report to the Council’s Planning Committee last month said that most of those who were opposed to the principle of building in the Green Belt in Colnbrook were also opposed to the Northern Expansion of Slough.
Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council lodged an objection to the proposal on the grounds that “the community will be severely affected by any such loss as the land is currently used by our residents for a wide range of recreational, social, educational, and sports and fitness pursuits.”
The Parish also noted that the expansion of employment land would increase pressure for additional housing land as well:
“The issues and options in this plan will increase development pressure for housing and employment requirements, which will in turn have a negative impact upon the amenity, and attractiveness of the Parish”.
There were also concerns expressed by the Colne Valley Park, which called for “mitigation and compensation in line with the objectives of the Colne Valley Park” if the option was brought forward.
Two specific Green Belt sites in the Colnbrook and Poyle area were proposed for development in the Call for Sites initiated by Slough Borough Council. Aside from Goodman, the Wiggins site off Poyle Road also saw a submission.
Grundon, unsurprisingly, wrote in support of Green Belt release. Grundon’s incinerator off Lakeside Road would have to be demolished to make way for a Third Runway and the Council has previously indicated its support.
Any relaxation of existing Green Belt and Strategic Gap policies will only take place once the future of the Heathrow has been determined and it can be shown that there are very special circumstances for more airport related development in this location
Heathrow Airport was also keen to endorse the plans to transform Colnbrook into freight park to service its freight expansion plans – although acknowledging that it is too soon yet to discuss specific plans.
The airport said it was “supportive of your proposed approach to the development of Colnbrook and Poyle, being that Heathrow’s expansion proposals need to be confirmed before any unrelated development can be approved.”
In November 2015 Heathrow has announced a £180m cargo blueprint to overhaul freight facilities at the airport and double capacity – even without a Third Runway.
Colnbrook Parish Council stated that it “strongly objects to the general expansion of Slough into the parished areas” and called on Slough to protect historic settlements.
The Council report said it “recognised that proposals for the expansion of Heathrow airport will have an impact upon the Colnbrook and Poyle area” but said that any change to Green Belt policy would be dependent on the Third Runway.