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Solent Gateway's plans for Marchwood military port enhancement greenlit by New Forest District Council planning committee

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HUNDREDS of new jobs could be created after New Forest district councillors greenlit development of Marchwood military port.

Planning committee members granted Solent Gateway’s bid to double the storage capacity to a total of nearly 44 hectares, among a raft of improvements that also sparked warnings of extra traffic.

It will herald a seven-year expansion of the 83-hectare site, port boss Richard Parkinson said, boosting its operations storing automobiles and other cargo materials.

A CGI of the plans (photo: Solent Gateway Limited)
A CGI of the plans (photo: Solent Gateway Limited)

The site is also a main part of the Solent Freeport deal and Mr Parkinson revealed: “We are talking to three potential business who want to establish themselves in the port.

“Between them and Solent Gateway that could lead up to 500 jobs.”

He went on: “We have predicted up to 1,110 jobs could be associated with the port post-development” – although he clarified that included supply-line positions off-site.

However, the figure was disputed by Cllr Malcolm Wade who said the roles would be “specialist” and he doubted local people could fill them.

Mr Parkinson countered by revealing the port would set up training programmes and had developed a link with Brockenhurst College.

Cllr Wade remained reluctant to give support over the potential for more traffic on the A326 – which is already congested and for which Hampshire County Council is planning millions of pounds worth of enhancements.

Solent Gateway has agreed to hand HCC a “significant sum” towards that, it was revealed.

Figures in a committee report speculated the port development could create 1,607 vehicle movements a day – 708 higher than the current estimated number.

Cllr Wade speculated HCC was considering a junction to the south of the site to serve the A326, which could be “a potential problem” for his constituents.

A CGI of the plans (photo: Solent Gateway Limited)
A CGI of the plans (photo: Solent Gateway Limited)

“Part of me is deeply concerned for local residents, who are going to have hundreds more lorry movements a day,” he warned.

Planning chief Claire Upton-Brown pointed out NFDC currently had no planning control over the site but if it granted the scheme would gain influence with a host of conditions.

There were also ecological enhancements and improved lighting would be enhance efficiency and lessen pollution, planner Jonathan Best highlighted.

The plan also included new hardstanding areas to enable containers to be stacked five-high, and ancillary and security staff welfare offices, plus enhancements to the railway, highway and perimeter fencing.

Outline approval was also given to demolish buildings, more hardstanding and buildings, access improvements and vehicle parking.

While Cllrs Wade and Mahmoud Kangarani chose to abstain, the other 11 members present gave it the go-ahead, noting the potential employment benefits.

For Cllr Barry Rickman it had been “a long time coming”.

Cllr Anne Corbridge added: “We must support this, this is the future.

“This is a lot of what we are here for.”

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