Campaigners gear up to fight appeal over hugely unpopular Leicestershire warehouse scheme

Local residents have rallied together to oppose the plan for a new logistics hub in Enderby
Local residents have rallied together to oppose the plan for a new logistics hub in Enderby -Credit:Sandra Stevens / Snub The Hub

Residents are gearing up for a fresh fight after an appeal was launched over a rejected warehousing scheme at the edge of their small Leicestershire village. The Snub the Hub group has long opposed the plans for the Enderby Logistics Hub saying the huge scheme would clog up their roads and swallow up their countryside.

They secured a win last year after Blaby District Council made a shock decision to throw out the application at a planning committee meeting in October 2023, going against the advice of their own planning officers. But the victory was short-lived after applicants Drummond Estate and The Inverock Trust submitted a new application to the council just four months later.

Now, the Snub the Hub group is facing a new battle to prevent the scheme coming to fruition after an appeal was launched against the refused plans last month. The second, reworked, application is still pending consideration and will continue to go through the planning process while the appeal is fought.

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“Needless to say, we are not very happy,” the group told LeicestershireLive. Their concerns around the scheme, which would see would see four warehouses built off Leicester Lane at the edge of the village, remain unchanged.

The logistics hub would result in 250 more heavy good vehicle trips on the roads around the village each day, they said. They also believe there could be up to 1,000 van journeys, and say most employees would be travelling into the area from outside of the village and would likely do so by car as buses do not run as frequently as would be needed. Some 1,164 car parking spaces are provided under the plans, they said.

All of this would serve to make congestion worse in an area which already suffers from it and would also increase pollution in their village, they believe. There are “regular daily congestion issues, which causes gridlock to the B4114 and all associated roads in this area,” the group said.

Both National Highways and Leicestershire County Council as the local highways authority had worked with the applicant on schemes that would ease any congestion that might have resulted from the development prior to the October refusal. Drummond Estate and The Inverock Trust had agreed to deliver improvements, described as “capacity enhancements”, to the A563/ Meridian South roundabout and a £6.7 million contribution to increasing the capacity of Lubbesthorpe Way.

Footpath improvements were also proposed along the B4114. They also removed a second access point off the B4114 after the county council raised concerns about it. However, Snub the Hub members said they do not believe the road network can be improved to tolerate the additional traffic.

The applicants also said the plan would would bring around 1,500 jobs to the area – and planning officers told the committee in October that this would help the council meet its employment quota. But campaigners argue the new employment opportunities might not benefit the local community.

They said their research has shown 90 per cent of working age adults in the district are currently employed. Of the 66 warehouses within 12 miles of the village, 27 are not in use, they continued. This, they added, supports their fears workers would be travelling in from other areas if the hub is built.

While the plan for the site includes areas of grassland and planting to help reduce environmental impacts, campaigners have said the 80 acres of fields earmarked for the hub is one of the last bits of green space left between Enderby and Leicester. Swapping the fields for “15 metre high warehouses, tarmac, vehicles, fumes and noise” goes against council policies designed to protect the escapes into nature which are vital to the wellbeing of communities, they feel.

The group said they believe the appeal has come now because the applicants have seen the strength of opposition to their reworked plans. Even more objections have been lodged against the new application, they said, and the group has created a report setting out exactly why they believe the scheme should be scrapped for good.

“The amount of objections doubled and a 60 page report put forward with stronger and more detailed reasoning for not having our green space covered in huge warehouses and causing pollution and gridlocks for anyone who lived or had to travel past Enderby,” the group said.

Martin Ward on behalf of The Drummond Estate, said: “The appeal has been lodged as this site is allocated in Blaby District Council’s adopted Local Plan for employment use and the application was fully compliant with national policy, the council’s own Core Strategy Policies and the council’s subsequent Delivery DPD policies for the site. In fact, the council has acknowledged the application is compliant with policy and therefore recommended approval.

“This application followed years of work with council officers to ensure comprehensive technical and deliverable solutions were identified. The statutory consultees were all satisfied, including Leicestershire County Council’s highways team and National Highways, and it was clearly concluded there was no basis for a refusal on highways grounds.

“While we appreciate that those living nearby may not be happy that the site was allocated for this employment use, the allegations being raised are not factual and evidence was provided to the contrary within the extensive application documentation. The technical consultees including highways and environmental experts have commented on the application and are satisfied with the proposals.”

Anyone wishing to comment on the appeal will need to do so by Friday, May 17. An appeal hearing date has been set for Tuesday, July 9. The group has called on as many people to turn up, saying they will need “all the support possible”.