Next.plc have submitted a planning application to Epping Forest District Council for a distribution centre on Green Belt land in Waltham Abbey.

If approved the plans would see:

  • hundreds of additional delivery vehicle journeys on our roads every day
  • loss of habitat for protected and endangered species
  • staff coming into and out of Waltham Abbey putting extra strain on our roads and infrastructure
  • a likely impact on the value of nearby homes
  • further building on the green belt, which exists specifically to:
    1. check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
    2. prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
    3. assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
    4. preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
    5. assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land. (National Planning Policy Framework)

Next.plc have said that the distribution centre will be good for jobs and the local economy. Although we need more jobs in Waltham Abbey there is no guarantee that they will go to local people – just look at the Sainsbury’s depot where many, maybe the majority, of the staff are brought in from out of town.

£650,000 has been offered to help provide bus services for staff. However, instead of working with our existing local operators to extend and improve services Next.plc have chosen to support Arriva’s on-demand service. This will do nothing to help our existing services but could undermine out local operators, putting them out of business. Arriva is owned by a German train company.

The application proposal

The application summary submitted to Epping Forest District Council reads:

Hybrid: Full planning application for erection of 1 no. warehouse with ancillary accommodation (Class B8), including access and servicing arrangements, car parking and landscaping, roof-mounted photovoltaic array and associated works including new vehicular access to A121 (phase 1), gatehouse and sprinkler tanks; outline planning application for up to 22,733 square metres (GIA) of employment floorspace (Classes B1(c), B2 and B8) with all matters reserved (phase 2)

We’ve uploaded all of the application documents to a publicly shared drive: efgp.org.uk/nextapplication

For an overview of the scheme the best document to look at is the Design and Access Statement, embedded here: