Green light for Marchwood military port expansion, NFDC report suggests
PLANS to expand Marchwood military port's commercial use should be approved, a report to NFDC's planning committee recommends.
Solent Gateway Ltd, which was awarded a 35-year concession to develop and manage the port by the Ministry of Defence in 2016, say the proposals will enable a wider range of cargo to be transported and stored on-site.
The application for the 83 hectare site includes allocating an extra 21 hectares for cargo storage, the demolition of some redundant buildings and a new warehouse.
Improvements to the port's road and rail network would be made as well as a new security office and canopy, increased parking is proposed for staff and visitors and a covered cycle storage facility.
The council's planning committee will meet next Wednesday to discuss the application. The report states: "This is a large and strategically important site which is part of the proposed Solent Freeport. The site is allocated in the Local Plan for port related use where intensification of its use and optimisation of its rail and sea connections are safeguarded subject to various detailed considerations.
"It has been concluded that impacts on the strategic highways network are acceptable [and] can be mitigated by conditions along with off-site pedestrian and cycleway works improvements and a financial contribution of £400,000 for improvements to A35/A326 Rushington roundabout."
The report added: "Although the hard surfaced areas would significantly increase on the site, landscape and ecological enhancements are proposed [and] a biodiversity net gain off site provision is to be made at a site on the Cadland Estate. This is an acceptable approach given the need to make the most efficient use of the site and its unique locational attributes."
The application received 17 letters in support which highlighted the creation of new jobs, the importance of the Solent Freeport and the ecological net gain off site. Marchwood Parish Council also supported the development. There were also 26 letters against, with concerns over the proposed increase in HGV movements, noise and pollution as well as about pedestrian safety and the visual impact of the site.