Newport's 'world-class' innovation park passes planning test despite roundabout concerns
The next step of the Newport Innovation Park proposal was given the green light, despite concerns over an ancient oak tree and an excess of roundabouts.
The multi-million pound development to the south of the town was discussed by Telford & Wrekin Council's planning committee this week, and councillors approved the latest application.
Plans for the 'Ni-Park', which could provide up to 1,000 jobs when complete, are split over three phases.
This week's hybrid application was in two stages, seeking both outline permission for an employment park of 38.720 square metres, and full planning permission for 24 business, industrial and warehouse and distribution units.
It also included two access roads, an internal spine road, 124 parking spaces and landscaping within the south east area of the overall site.
Councillors and planners pored over the plans on Wednesday night's meeting, and Councillor Andrew Eade, ward member for Church Aston and Lilleshall, welcomed the development.
He also raised concerns about the effects on the ecology of the site, and said the access for the site should be "as good as it possibly can be".
He said: "This is a vital development for the future.
"The opportunity for the town to be regarded as a key investment site in its own right is a very exciting one.
"I am not a great lover of building on greenfield sites except in exceptional circumstances.
"This is such an occasion."
Councillor Peter Scott, Newport's mayor, said the park would put Newport "firmly on the map".
He said: "This is a must for Newport, I think it is going to be one of the best things that has ever happened to us.
"Newport residents need to be kept fully informed of every stage of construction, when it is going to happen and where it is going to happen."
Ni-Park is supported by funding through the Telford Land Deal and Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, and is supported by Harper Adams University of nearby Edgmond.
Ahead of the meeting, the council's tree officer provided a report saying that the proposed access road should be moved northwards as far as possible to minimise impact on a "veteran" oak tree.
The plans include two new roundabouts between the existing ones on Station Road and the A41.
Planning committee member Councillor Nigel Dugmore said: "This is good for Newport and for the area as a whole.
"But putting extra roundabouts in means traffic is going to start stacking up.
"Why is it necessary to have two roundabouts in less than half a mile?"
Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for economic development, welcomed the approval of the plans.
He said: “Ni-Park is set to put both Telford and the UK at the forefront of high efficiency agriculture and I am delighted that is has now received planning approval.
“It will serve to bring together agricultural and technical companies where industry experts can collaborate on and commercialise new technologies.
“As a result, Ni-Park will pioneer an epicenter of global intelligence, drive growth and support innovation to help farmers and businesses achieve sustainable productivity in agriculture and processing.”