At last… the proposals for the expansion of Blythe Business Park in Cresswell are now public. The big scope of them surprised many of us – 200 new homes and around 50 more business units, in what would be a doubling of the size of the present park site, and all built on the fields around the site.
If the plans go ahead, the population of Cresswell would more than double, and the village would have quite a new profile.
Blythe Business Park, for those who don’t know it, is the industrial-units complex on Sandon Road in Cresswell, where the Blythe Colours factory was once based. Scentarea, which runs it, is one of the group of companies headed up by local entrepreneur MJ Barrett.
The plans, displayed on half-a-dozen boards in one of the offices at the park, were keenly looked over by hundreds of visitors. On hand to help: a planning expert and a highways expert, who were trying to answer people’s questions.
The plans were on display for two days – Thursday 9th and Friday 10th January.
However, the problem with the plans on display was that they are only ‘indicative’. In other words, they are subject to change – especially if the local community demands alterations – so the details are still vague.
Nevertheless, we did ask a few questions of the project managers… and got some answers… (However, those who spoke to us stressed that all answers are provisional – so think of these answers as being the likely outcome of the plans if they go ahead, not the definite outcome).
What sort of houses?
Answer: …a range of 2 to 4 bedroom properties, with gardens. Thirty per cent of the homes will be ‘affordable’, i.e. they could possibly be apartments, but that will depend on what arrangement the future builder comes up with.
The spacing between homes is classed as ‘low density’ – around 25 dwellings per hectare.
(For more about density, see this article).
What ground-surveys have you carried out?
A: …surveys into flooding issues are still being carried out; and ecology issues are also being addressed. The question of possible past contamination of the land has been raised – we are investigating that. We will want to comply with local planning demands.
What sort of businesses are you hoping to attract?
A: ..the same mix as on the site at present. There will be a further 40,000 square metres of space – for offices, workshops and industrial-units, with no building above three floors in height.
How many new road junctions will have to be created off Sandon Road?
A: …the present entrance to the park will be closed off. There may be one (new) access point for the park plus a separate (new) one for the housing estate; OR there may be just one new access point, which then splits into separate roads for the park and the estate.
(No estimates for the increase in traffic have yet been compiled).
But, there is no pavement just further up Sandon Road where the road narrows. With an increase in people and traffic, won’t that be a danger?
A: …we will look into that issue; and may work with the Highways Authority (the County Council) on finding a solution.
You say you’ll build a community centre and a shop-unit, within the housing estate. What’s the catch?
A: …no catch – they are a bonus to the scheme. The community centre would be handed over to local people to run; and we would tender out the shop-unit to see if someone wants to run it as their own business.
When do you hope to come up with a definitive plan?
A: …we want talks with Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to be underway in February, and we’d hope to submit full detailed plans to them in May.
But first… your views
There are many many more questions to ask of course, and it’s also to be hoped that our community representatives have got some firmer answers than possibly we got.
But all of us can take part in the process. Deloitte, the real-estate company which is handling the project, want our suggestions and reactions to be with them by Friday 24th January. They are also prepared to take questions by phone and email – 0121 695 5109 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Do let us know if you don’t get answers to your questions).
Our community representatives also want to know what we think. Pauline Clarke, a parish councillor who herself lives in Cresswell, and who will have to live next to the site if it goes ahead, especially wants your views. You can email her.
VVSM, the Cresswell community action group, is also pulling together an official response.
Draycott Parish Council may even be in a position to discuss the issue at its next meeting on January 20th. What’s without doubt is that the issue will definitely be raised at that meeting!
Watch this space…
Want to comment?
As well as contacting the other groups mentioned in this article, you may want to add your views to this webpage. You can do this by using the comments box, which near the bottom of this page.
Some people already have commented – you can see their comments below.
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