Kettering councillor quits committee role to oppose controversial warehouse development

Thousands have voiced their concerns about the plans for part of Weekley Hall Wood

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 12:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 12:08 pm
Cllr Ash Davies.

A Kettering councillor has quit his role on the council's planning committee to speak out against a bid to chop down trees for a warehouse development.

Cllr Ash Davies (Con) had been chairing the council's virtual planning committee meetings since May this year.

But members of the committee aren't allowed to 'pre-determine' applications like the controversial bid by Buccleuch Property (Kettering) Ltd to build five warehouses and an industry unit on land off Weekley Wood Lane, which would see part of the popular Weekley Hall Wood chopped down.

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Weekley Hall Wood. Credit: Dan Whitney

Now Cllr Davies, who represents the Brambleside ward, has resigned from the committee so he can oppose the plan.

He said: “The proposed development at Weekley Hall Wood has caused a huge amount of concern for Brambleside’s residents, who have kindly contacted me over recent months to express their views on this planning application.

“As a member of the planning committee I have been required to avoid ‘pre-determining’ applications such as this, which is rightly in place to ensure a fair and unbiased planning process for all.

"However I have now decided to put principle before position and resign from the planning committee so I can fully speak out and represent the residents of Brambleside ward on this application and also on a number of other local planning matters.

An artist's impression of the site.

“I grew up in Brambleside and I have enjoyed walking my dog in these woods over the years with my family, so this is a matter close to my heart.

"I can fully understand people’s concerns about the huge environmental impact that this application would have on the woods and surrounding area.

"I must also acknowledge the residents who have contacted me expressing support for the development, but they are outnumbered by those opposed.”

So far 10,000 people have joined the fight against the application, which would see 40,000 sq m of woodland removed.

Buccleuch Property (Kettering Ltd) say new woodland will be created to mitigate the loss of trees, adding that its impact would not be significant.

If approved the warehouses would total about 30,000 sq m with access from the nearby the hamburger roundabout.

There would be 400 car parking spaces with estimates of 700 full-time jobs and further indirect jobs

A decision date on the warehouse bid is not yet known.