The proposed Next development in Waltham Abbey

 

Next.plc have submitted plans to build a distribution centre on green belt land in Waltham Abbey.

If the plans are approved there will be hundreds of additional vehicles on our roads causing increased congestion and pollution, a massive loss of wildlife habitat and further encroachment on the green belt.

We’re campaigning to stop the development.

What to expect

  • Traffic chaos – Waltham Abbey already suffers from serious traffic congestion and cannot take any more.
  • Over 700 extra HGVs per day – if these were to be queued bumper-to-bumper the Next HGV queue would stretch for over 7 miles (the same distance as Waltham Abbey to Loughton).
  • Loss of Green Belt – the development would mean an irreplaceable loss of farmland. The Green Belt grows 52% of the UK’s food yet there is still a £30 billion annual food trade deficit.
  • Loss of Wildlife Habitat – the development would lead to the loss of trees and hedgerows. 1 in 10 types of wildlife are facing extinction. The damage to wildlife habitats is unlikely to be adequately mitigated.
  • Reduction in Air Quality – the vehicles serving the distribution centre are responsible for highly damaging emissions which is a danger to the health of Waltham Abbey residents, contributes to global warming and causes permanent damage to the environment.

Are there any benefits?

  • Next claim that there are up to 950 new jobs. However, buried deep in the application it admits the actual figure is 175 to operate the Next warehouse once it has opened.
  • Next opposed paying the Living Wage. Typical salaries on offer are expected to be in the order of £20,000 per year – substantially short of the salary level needed to buy a house or flat in Waltham Abbey. The Sainsbury’s depot relies heavily on agency workers that live outside Waltham Abbey.
  • Next are not even proposing to bring a shop to the area and consider Waltham Abbey High St to be too run down and not suitable for their brand.
  • The economic benefit is non-existent and in fact a negative impact. Since Next source much of their stock from outside the UK this further contributes to the national deficit. The loss of farmland also means more foreign imports of food are needed. HGVs are also highly damaging to the economy as well as the environment.

Surely the council will reject this?

  • Don’t bank on it. The Local Plan produced by the council has been subject to many complaints that they did not follow a democratic process. Ask the residents of Jessel Green in Loughton if they trust the council to look after their best interests and they will say “No”.
  • At the last general election the government made a manifesto commitment to protect Green Belt yet vast tracts of land continue to be lost to speculative developers.
  • Next promised an exhibition and consultation with the public on this development but have reneged on this. The council should have forced this but so far have failed to intervene.

Why do NEXT want to build in Waltham Abbey?

They say it is because jobs are needed. The truth is because they see the opportunity to build cheaply on Green Belt land so as to increase the profits to their shareholders. Cynical Attempt to obtain planning permission by deception – the sole reason for this proposal is GREED.

What’s next after NEXT?

The Next development states that Waltham Abbey is a deprived area so it is OK to build on its Green Belt – if the council approves this it will be a clear invitation to every speculative developer around to descend on Waltham Abbey and build on the surrounding Green Belt.

The application proposal

The application summary submitted to Epping Forest District Council reads:

Hybrid: Full planning application for erection of 1 no. warehouse with ancillary accommodation (Class B8), including access and servicing arrangements, car parking and landscaping, roof-mounted photovoltaic array and associated works including new vehicular access to A121 (phase 1), gatehouse and sprinkler tanks; outline planning application for up to 22,733 square metres (GIA) of employment floorspace (Classes B1(c), B2 and B8) with all matters reserved (phase 2)

All of the application documents have been uploaded to a publicly shared drive: efgp.org.uk/nextapplication

For an overview of the scheme the best document to look at is the Design and Access Statement, embedded here: