Firm's parking plans set to be blocked over highway safety fears

Plans to remove 30 parking spaces at a North Staffordshire business are set to be blocked - over highway safety concerns. Planners at Newcastle Borough Council say that GivEnergy's proposals for its facility in Chemical Lane, Longbridge Hayes, could result in people parking on the road, creating an 'unacceptable highway safety concern'.

GivEnergy, a leading energy storage firm, secured planning permission for a new industrial unit at Newspaper House in Chemical Lane in 2023, with 47 parking spaces included in the plans. Under the original proposals, 50 office and warehouse workers would be employed in the new building, with another 20 staff in an existing warehouse.

But GivEnergy says that various changes have since been made to operations at its facility, with the number of staff reduced to 20, meaning most of the parking spaces are no longer needed. The company has submitted an application to vary the site's planning permission, reducing the number of parking spaces from 47 to 17.

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This would involve completely removing a group of 30 parking spaces at the front of the site, with 17 spaces at the rear being retained. According to its planning application, GivEnergy felt 'justified to remove 30 of the originally proposed parking spaces to coincide with the reduction in numbers'.

But planning officers at the borough council - which has jurisdiction over the Longbridge Hayes industrial estate - have recommended the plans for refusal, saying they would result in a 'significant shortfall' of parking spaces. This would lead to a 'potential overspill' of vehicles onto Chemical Lane.

The officers' report states: "Whilst the applicant has outlined that due to their personal business model additional parking would not be required, the local planning authority must consider the use class of the building and total floor area that can be utilised. A different operator could take ownership or occupation of the buildings at any given time in the future that may operate the buildings to their full capacity, which would leave a significant shortfall in parking spaces.

"Therefore given that there is not sufficient parking within the site, this gives rise to an increased risk of vehicles parking directly on Chemical Lane. Chemical Lane is a relatively narrow road serving a number of industrial and commercial units. As a result, there is a further risk that overspill parking, given the severe shortfall in parking from the application site, would present a highway safety issue."

The planning committee at the borough council will discuss the application at their meeting on Tuesday, May 21.