350-space Amazon van park approved despite fierce opposition
- Credit: PA
Controversial plans for online shopping giant Amazon to create a van park for 350 delivery drivers have been given the nod by Norwich City Council.
The company plans to turn land north of Hellesdon Hall Road into a parking site for delivery drivers' vans.
By 2030 Amazon aims to host a fleet of electric-powered vans but initially there will only be nine chargers available.
Plans for the 7.6-acre site were agreed by the planning committee, despite strong opposition from residents, who raised concerns about traffic flow, light pollution and flooding.
A resident's letter was read by area development manager, David Parkin.
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The writer said: "The drain by Turnpike Close overflows and causes a large and treacherous flood frequently. With the natural ground being tarmacked over there is concern the dangerous issue will worsen.
"As the people directly affected by it, we ask in the strongest possible terms that you reject this proposal."
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Addressing the concerns, Nick Bowen, who spoke on behalf of the applicant, said drainage should not be an issue as the plans included soakaways to keep drainage water on site.
Case officer Sarah Hinchcliffe said the plans should not increase traffic in the area because the majority were already on the road network, travelling to the depot at Sweet Briar Road.
She added that light pollution should not be much of a factor as the plans included an intelligent lighting system that dimmed outside operating hours.
Officers could find "no unacceptable impact on the residential neighbours", she said.
Councillor Mike Sands welcomed the proposal for getting the vans off the nearby urban streets after firms on Sweet Briar Industrial Estate previously claimed Amazon drivers were clogging up the roads.
Several of the councillors described the site as a "missed opportunity" by Amazon, which they said could have included solar panels as well as electric vehicle charging.
Sandra Bogelein said: "I just don't understand it. That would be a long term investment in transitioning to electric vehicles."
Councillors approved the plans, with the condition that the site should not be used between the hours of 11pm and 5am, to help reduce the impact on the local community.