Saturday, July 13, 2024

New bid for car processing site on Grays Athletic pitches

A FOURTH attempt to build a new car processing site on Thurrock green belt has been recommended for refusal.

A football club and Group 1 Automotive wants to build a Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) centre on the site of the former Grays Athletic Football Club in Ship Lane Aveley.

The 1,200 sq metre centre and a 1,204 vehicle car park would be built on the club’s former pitches. The club house would be retained and it is proposed to turn an existing first floor flat above the club house into an assembly and leisure facility. A 3G pitch and changing rooms is proposed for council-owned land in Belhus Park Lane, Aveley. This is subject to a separate planning application by the club and Group 1 Automotive.

The group handles both new and used vehicles. The facility would receive, store, prepare and test vehicles prior to exportation to individual dealerships. A part two-storey PDI Centre building would be used to inspect, modify and generally prepare vehicles prior to export.

Cars would be transferred to the site from four UK ports. During September the site would receive 43 daily loads via three or 10-car transporters.

The council received 44 objections over loss of green belt and flood risk. There were also 180 expressions of support, including perceived economic benefits and support for the football club.

Two such applications have been previously refused and Thurrock Council’s planning committee declined to determine a third application as it was too similar to previous ones.

The latest scheme will be heard by the committee on Thursday as it is linked to the 3G pitch.

New access arrangements for the latest application include a proposed HGV turnaround provided to discourage HGVs from continuing northbound on Ship Lane and travelling through Aveley village.

However, planning officers are once again recommending it be refused.

They said: “The proposals are considered to constitute inappropriate development with reference to policy 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.”

They also did not support the 3G pitch.: “As the proposed 3G pitch is ‘linked’ to the proposals at the Thurrock FC (recommended for refusal), as there is no mechanism promoted to deliver the facility and as there is a holding objection from Sport England the proposals cannot be supported.”

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