A 66-acre industrial park on Thurrock green belt has been recommended for refusal.
MD Star Ltd wants to build a 44,463 sq metre “employment hub” on land adjacent to Watts Wood including Mardyke Farm, Ship Lane, and Broomhill Arterial Road Purfleet.
The scheme includes a new boardwalk beside the Mardyke, a new community and workplace hub and a new roundabout junction on Ship Lane.
The scheme is designed as an eco-industrial park in which businesses “co-operate with each other and with the local community in an attempt to reduce waste and pollution and to share resources”.
The company says the park would be ideally placed to collaborate with the newly created Thames Freeport and
it has teamed up with South Essex College which already offers courses in freight forwarding, supply chain management and HGV driving.
The proposals will also promote skills in environmental technologies, with the latest technologies being deployed on the scheme itself.
The company said: “Mardyke Farm would provide a range of higher quality units both small and over 100,000 sq.ft, which would address the needs of local business requiring newer premises or wishing to grow as well as those wishing to move into the areas whether that be those displaced from London or elsewhere.”
The proposal has attracted a number of petitions against it, including one signed by more than 600 people.
The council also received 33 written objections from residents who were concerned about loss of green belt, increased traffic, the impact on infrastructure and air quality impacts.
However, the council also received 118 comments supporting the application because of its job opportunities, provision of community assets and opportunities for youth groups.
Nevertheless, planning officers said: “The proposals are considered to constitute inappropriate development and would by definition be harmful to the green belt. It is also considered that the proposals would harm the openness of the green belt.
It is considered that the identified harm to the green belt is not clearly outweighed by other considerations so as to amount to the very special circumstances required to justify inappropriate development.”
If the planning committee approves the application, it will then go to the secretary of state for a final decision.