Amazon bid for 350-space Norwich van park sparks angry opposition

Amazon UK is to open a Norwich logistics hub in September. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Amazon wants permission for a van park off Norwich's ring road. - Credit: PA

Online shopping giant Amazon has met opposition to its plans to create a large van park for more than 350 delivery drivers near its Norwich depot.

People living close to where the company wants to create a 7.6 acre van park fear it will lead to more traffic, pollution and noise from as early as 5am.

The company's distribution warehouse is at Caley Close, on the Sweet Briar Road Industrial Estate, off the ring road.

But the company wants to turn land on the other side of the ring road, to the north of Hellesdon Hall Road, into a site where the vans which deliver products distributed from the Amazon warehouse can be parked.

Land where Amazon van park could be built

The Amazon van park would be created on land next to Hellesdon Hall Road. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

The company has asked Norwich City Council for permission to create parking for up to Amazon 353 vans at that site, close to the Wickes DIY store.

The new Wickes store, on the junction between A140 Sweet Briar Road and Hellesdon Hall Road. Picture

The van park, if it gets permission, would be built near Wickes DIY store. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

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In documents lodged with City Hall, agents for Amazon state: "In new build‐to‐suit sites, the need for vehicle storage is often built into proposals.

"On sites such as these, where existing units are operating with limited to no opportunities to adapt the site to meet this operational business requirement, the storage of the vans necessarily has to take place elsewhere.

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"This is the case for the distribution warehouse, and the reason why there is a need to provide a van storage facility a short distance from the distribution warehouse at this site."

Firms on Sweet Briar Industrial Estate had previously claimed that private vans which Amazon delivery drivers use were clogging up roads there.

Vans parked on double yellow lines on Sweet Briar Industrial Estate, which business owners claim are

Drivers making Amazon deliveries with their own vans prompted parking complaints on Sweet Briar Industrial Estate. - Credit: Jordan Craske

Norwich City Council's planning committee will make a decision on the creation of the new van park when it meets on Thursday, January 14, with officers recommending the go-ahead.

But that comes despite opposition from people living in Hellesdon, who are worried about the impact of the development on them, particularly as Amazon has said van drivers will be on site from 5am.

There have been 18 objections to the scheme, with concern van drivers will 'rat run' down residential streets such as Low Road.

One said: "As a local resident, I don't think the junction at the bottom of Hellesdon Hall Road and Low Road is sufficient to accept another 300 plus vans all coming and going at similar times of the day.

"The morning will be plagued by the constant noise of van engines screaming up Hellesdon Hall Road at 5am."

Another objector said: "Since the Amazon delivery warehouse opened up hundreds of vans are using these roads every day and we have noticed how many of the vans are using the roads through Lower Hellesdon as a short cut, instead of using the ring road, this in turn creates a hazard to cars, cyclists and pedestrians."

Hellesdon Parish Council says it wants a condition imposed so all vans have to enter and leave from the ring road/Sweet Briar Road direction, so they do not go through residential Hellesdon roads.

However, Norfolk County Council, as highways authority, has not objected.

And city council planning officers say, with so many of the drivers who make Amazon deliveries currently using their own vans, it will "redistribute" traffic once they switch to using Amazon's own vans, rather than creating new traffic.

City council planning officers say it is not practical to restrict access to the site on planning terms and are comfortable with Turnpike Close being used from either direction on Hellesdon Hall Road.

Empty land in Hellesdon

The vans would access the Amazon van park via Turnpike Close. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

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