West Berkshire Council has granted outline planning permission for a 125,000 sq ft logistics warehouse on land 0.5kms to the south of Membury Service Station, between Junctions 14 and 15 of the M4 motorway.
Pegasus Group secured approval on behalf of Walker Logistics Ltd for the new building with ancillary office floorspace, as well as an aircraft museum building and associated access, car parking and landscaping on land known as ‘South of Tower Works, Ramsbury Road, Lambourn Woodlands’.
The application site comprises 5.5 hectares of greenfield land, and lies adjacent to the disused Membury Airfield. The new warehouse will form an extension to the existing Membury Business Park.
In a report to the Western Area Planning Committee, the Council’s own Economic Development team said: “The impact of the proposal would have significant economic benefits to West Berkshire. The plans as described would lead to a number of new jobs, both during and after construction. From an Economic Development point of view, I would be supportive of this application as it allows a significant local employer to not only remain in West Berkshire, but to expand and consolidate its future success.”
In recommending the application for approval, the Officer’s Report concluded that there was an ‘exceptional need’ for the development and that the application had identified not only a need to the applicant for this form of development, but also an overall shortfall of available employment floorspace within the District to meet future long-term needs.
Jim Tarzey, Executive Director and Chairman for Pegasus Group, said:
“We are pleased to secure approval for this 125,000 sq ft logistics warehouse at Membury, where an airfield museum is also proposed.
“We were able to successfully demonstrate that any adverse impact to the AONB would be extremely limited, as the proposal is situated between existing employment buildings within the Protected Employment Area to the north and south, as well as lying immediately adjacent to the existing airfield. We were therefore able to argue that the proposed economic benefits were significant and just outweigh the impact the proposal would have on the AONB, albeit with landscape mitigation.
“Walker Logistics is primarily a storage, fulfilment, value added supply chain business. They manage the supply chain requirements of companies expanding into the European market. They have been operating from the Membury Industrial Area since 1998.
“The company runs various initiatives to increase skills of their workforce through a staff development training programme, via Newbury College, as well as contributing to and sponsoring a number of local community initiatives.
“The proposed museum on the site is set to include exhibitions on the aviation history of the adjacent, disused, runway and its use in World War II. The airfield was built in 1942 and used by the USAAF and RAF until 1947. It was the departure point for hundreds of American troops heading for Normandy to take part in the D-Day landings; a C-47 aircraft took off from Membury during the Normandy campaign and the plane has been restored and being brought back to the site by Walker Logistics.”
Illustrations courtesy of Sally Dunkley.
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