A countryside protection group has come out firmly against a planned M40 service area, hotel, warehouse and HGV park at Banbury.
Clive Hunt, a committee member of the north Oxfordshire branch of CPRE (Campaign for Protection of Rural England) says his organisation is objecting strongly to the proposals to be considered by Cherwell councillors this autumn.
He said CPRE does not believe the Euro Garages plan meets the objectives of Cherwell District Council’s Loc al Plan to ensure the ‘economic strengths of Banbury in manufacturing, high performance engineering and logistics can be maintained’.
He said Euro Garages’ proposal for office space, general industrial use, a hotel, motorway service area and lorry park do not conform to the Plan’s objective.
“There is no need for a further motorway service area (MSA) on the M40. The stretch from Oxford (J8) to Leamington (J13) is already served 150 per cent above the Department for Transport spacing specifications with the existing three MSAs,” he said.
“Local facilities within half a mile of Junction 11 already provide all the services an MSA provides.
“The MSA will lead to a significant increase in traffic on the motorway junction roundabout and on the A361 and A422 along with increased ‘rat-running’ through Wardington, Chacombe, Middleton Cheney, Overthorpe and Warkworth.”
Mr Hunt said the area and A361 was already doomed to suffering HS2 railway construction traffic.
“Oxfordshire County Council has already stated that (Euro Garages’) traffic assessment grossly understates the severity of the transport issues,” he said.
“Development of any kind on this site will have an adverse impact on the landscape with the loss of greenfield land. With an MSA this will be further exacerbated with further 24-hour light pollution.”
The site, known as Banbury 15 in the Local Plan lies opposite Banbury Gateway.
Tom Jeremiah, Senior Planning Manager at Euro Garages said: “The proposals respond to the aspirations of the policy for Banbury 15 to create 1,000 jobs.
“This will be achieved through a mix of uses including a motorway service area, a petrol filling station, a hotel, over 23,000 square metres of warehousing and almost 8,000 square metres of new high quality office space.
“We believe these are exciting proposals that deliver on the council’s aspiration for Banbury 15 and will help to generate a range of new high-quality jobs both on-site and through the supply chain.”
Peter Gliwitski, chairman of Chacombe Parish Council, said: “We have made numerous protestations about the ill- informed and poorly thought out proposal that was allowed to form part of Cherwell District Council’s plan.
“The development is not wanted, is unnecessary, will provide little benefit to the local community and will damage the environment.
“The land on the eastern side of the M40 is unspoilt by development, whereas the Banbury side continues to grow, with development for housing on the Southam Road, recent development of the Gateway site and further expansion around the Overthorpe estate with some sizeable warehousing and factory units.
“If CDC are adamant that there is a need for development, keep it on the western side of the motorway.
“If people can’t plan a journey of 24 miles, the distance between Warwick and Bicester, without needing to stop for fuel or food they should not be driving,” he said.