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South Warwickshire villagers fight new plans for large industrial site

VILLAGERS are fighting plans for an industrial development on their doorstep, that could include buildings towering almost 60 feet high.

Residents of Gaydon also point out one of the warehouse-style buildings is so enormous, it could house eight jumbo jets. They say they are also concerned the planning application by CEG Land Promotions to Stratford District Council for the proposed development, south of Junction 12 of the M40, will bring a stream of HGV and van traffic.

Others point out that the Victorian sewage and drainage system is already overwhelmed, with one resident having been flooded nine times.

Elizabeth House, Stratford District Council's headquarters.
Elizabeth House, Stratford District Council's headquarters.

Retired lecturer Tony Hughes, who’s lived in the village with his wife for 40 years, describes the 550-strong Gaydon community as “a pretty tolerant bunch and certainly not NIMBY’s”.

Other developments near the village include the Lighthorne Heath housing complex to the north and Temple Herdwyke to the south.

The village is also close to the former Gaydon airfield which houses JLR, Aston Martin and the British Motor Museum.

Mr Hughes said: “The big question in the forefront of many villagers’ thoughts is how can this development be going ahead? Given the climate crisis, there’s concern that this is totally unnecessary.”

He added: “Rishi Sunak recently stated that this government ‘will not be concreting over the countryside’, so we feel the tide should be turning against these horrendous developments. These buildings will tower over the village – if you speak to anyone in the village there’s a sense of doom.”

CEG Land Promotions claims the scheme will create 1,000 jobs and pointed out its proposal includes a five-acre parkland between Gaydon and the development to act as a ‘buffer’ and ‘recreation space’.

Will Martin, head of land at CEG, said: “The proposals seek to respond to the significant need for new high-quality employment floorspace within the district, and provide flexible space for a wide range of uses, including smaller units for SMEs.

“The site lies adjacent to Junction 12 of the M40 with a new access located away from the village, meaning vehicles will not need to access the village.

“We appreciate that new development can cause concern and, following feedback from Gaydon Parish Council, local residents during public consultation, and Stratford District Council officers, the development has been moved further from the village.”

But resident Nina Wingfield said the development does not fit with the core strategy for Stratford, the document adopted by Stratford District Council which runs until 2031 and sets out planning strategy. The core strategy talks about 35 hectares of additional new land or general business use for the whole district. But Ms Wingfield pointed out CEG’s proposed development is 29.5 hectares and would be 84 per cent of the whole target.

She said: “The size of this development is astronomical. They’re looking to put up six buildings and the biggest would house eight jumbo jets. This is a massive development of extremely large warehouses and there’s going to be a really limited market of tenants for this kind of stuff. It’s a big whack of what’s been set aside for development.”

She added: “Also, core strategy talks about the sort of commercial development that’s acceptable in villages like Gaydon, lists things like farm shops and equestrian businesses. Industrial estates and warehouses of this size are nothing like what’s included on that list – this is the wrong kind of development.”

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