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Case Study : 400,000sq ft Distribution Centre

BRIEF

Our land owner wished to develop an agricultural site into a regional distribution centre with ancillary offices, revised access, car parking and associated infrastructure.

KEY ISSUES

Appraisal and Strategy; Planning Application; Specialist Reports; Project Management; Urban Design; Industrial; South East.

LPA

Mid Sussex District Council

CHALLENGES

Pre-application discussions had been sought with the Council who had advised that they would not support the application for development on site.

The key issue was to present the right justifications for this development and highlight its sustainable credentials in terms of its economic, social and environmental benefits.

SOLUTION

We undertook thorough research into the planning history of the site, noting it had extant permission for an agricultural market; had previously been identified by West Sussex County Council as a shortlisted site for a built waste facility; and a business park had already been established close to the site, representing an important material consideration and setting the precedent for employment and development within this location.

We ascertained that there were no such schemes existing or proposed in the area. The proposed development therefore offered the opportunity to provide an essential regional distribution facility representing significant potential to boost the local economy and enhance the sub-region’s growth. Our analysis showed that the scheme could generate between 200 to 325 construction jobs over two years; 775 to 995 jobs when finished; and add £16million to the local economy.

We highlighted the site's excellent access to a strategic road network, located within the Gatwick Triangle, close to high capacity trunk roads and just 20 minutes from Brighton and 25 minutes to the M25. Further to this, we flagged that the site is located at the only junction on the M23 that is not located within the South Downs National Park, Green Belt or area of outstanding natural beauty.

We presented supporting technical assessments and surveys to demonstrate that there were no constraints that would prevent the development of a regional distribution centre on site and highlighted what mitigation measures would be required, identifying that these can reasonably be included as planning conditions.

The scheme is still being decided by the local council but has enjoyed the support of a number of largescale local businesses such as Pets Corner and Dark Star Brewing Company.

NORTHLANDS FARM (DISTRIBUTION CENTRE)