Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

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Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

SP3: Meeting regional and national demand for strategic distribution (logistics) development.

Representation ID: 7271

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Prologis UK Ltd.

Agent: Lichfields

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation Summary:

HDC has not fully met the Duty to Cooperate when identifying a strategic extension to Magna Park, reasons stated as:
- proposed scale would have significant cross boundary implications including for; Leicester & Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the W.Midlands, therefore the Duty to cooperate & evidence base requires such cross-boundary consideration
- scale proposed (in ha)not justified by the evidence cited (L&LSDSS, HEDNA)
- not clear in demonstrating or assessing vacant floorspace at Magna Park or the likelihood and impact of probable redevelopment (given age of buildings)
- concentrating proposed scale of development in this part of Harborough will have serious implications for the delivery of sustainable economic development in the rest of Leicestershire.
- proximity and scale of development will impact on the delivery of DIRFT III, and Daventry's ability to deliver their employment / GVA aspirations
- HDC has not given due consideration to concerns raised by Daventry DC, that an assessment be prepared to demonstrate that the level of employment planned for Magna Park is justified
- criterion BE2.2b demonstrates acceptance of concern, to consider in context of plan-making. HDC consideration of such assessment as disproportionate / non-conclusive (as per DtoC statement)undermines its inclusion.

Full text:

2.0 Duty to Co-operate
2.1 The Framework [§178] states public bodies have a duty to cooperate on issues that cross administrative boundaries, particularly those which relate to the strategic priorities. The Government expects joint working on areas of common interest to be diligently undertaken for the mutual benefit of neighbouring authorities.
2.2 The Practice Guidance goes on to state [Paragraph: 001 Reference ID: 9-001-20140306] "that the Localism Act 2011, places a legal duty on local planning authorities, county councils in England and public bodies to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of Local and Marine Plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters....... The duty to cooperate is not a duty to agree. But local planning authorities should make every effort to secure the necessary cooperation on strategic cross boundary matters before they submit their Local Plans for examination".
2.3 Prologis and RRSLP consider that Harborough Council has not fully met the duty to co-operate on strategic cross boundary matters when identifying a strategic extension to Magna Park. It is clear that the allocation of an extension to Magna Park would have significant cross boundary implications because of its scale. Policy BE2: Strategic distribution, seeks to protect Magna Park and allow up to 700,000m² of strategic floorspace subject to certain criteria being met.
2.4 To put the level of potential expansion at Magna Park into context, the existing Magana Park development is 202 ha . The Harborough District Council Strategic Employment Land Availability Assessment (SELAA) 2017 Update states that the need for further land for strategic B8 use is assessed separately to the HEDNA as part of the 2014 Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Distribution Sector Study (L&LSDSS) (further confirmed by the 2016 Update report). This identifies minimum gross land requirements for strategic B8 development of 361 hectares by 2031 and 472 hectares by 2036 across the Functional Economic Housing Market Area (FEHMA) (Leicester and Leicestershire) (para 1.2.3). The L&LSDSS (2014) preferred high replacement scenario suggests around 153ha of new land at non rail served sites will need to be brought forward within Leicestershire up to 2036. Using the site areas from the applications that have been submitted at Magna Park (one of which has been approved), it is noted that the Magna Park extension will deliver 383 hectares ha of land . Thus, the Magna Park extension will more than double the requirement for non-rail served sites required in Leicestershire as well as delivering in excess of the gross land requirement for strategic B8 development by 2031.
2.5 Furthermore, we also aware of the fact that there is currently a significant amount of vacant and available floorspace at the existing Magna Park Site. The SEELA and SEELA Update make no reference to the existing level of availability. We are aware that planning permission has been granted for 100,844 sq m of floorspace at the Magna Park Site [LPA ref: 15/00919] which has not been implemented. The Council has not been clear in demonstrating or assessing the amount of vacant floorspace on Magna Park or the likelihood and impact of redevelopment, which is probable due to the age of some of the buildings at Magna Park in the near future.
2.6 Prologis and RRSLP consider that concentrating such a substantial amount of the employment requirement in this part of Harborough will have serious implications for the delivery of sustainable economic development in the balance of the Leicestershire area.
2.7 The close proximity of Magna Park to DIRFT III, this extent of strategic non-rail B8 development, prosed through this allocation, will impact on the ability of the DIRFT III scheme to be delivered and have a negative impact on Daventry's ability to deliver its employment and GVA aspirations. It is also noted that this scale of allocation is not justified by evidence.
2.8 Prologis and RRSLP note that L&LSDSS (2014) states that when preparing local plans and policies, in practical terms this means the Leicestershire planning authorities, the County Council and LLEP working together on a long term collaborative basis to allocate appropriate sites within the county to meet the identified shortfall. In the event that the identified shortfall cannot be entirely allocated within Leicestershire, this implies a requirement to bring forward further appropriate sites in neighbouring authorities outside the county. The duty to cooperate principle will therefore have to extend into neighbouring authorities in Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the West Midlands region (para 3.2.6). The evidence base for the Plan therefore requires such cross boundary consideration.
2.9 It is clear from the Harborough Local Plan Draft Submission Stage (Regulation 19) Duty to Co-operate Statement (September 2017) that the Council has not given due consideration to the concerns raised by Daventry DC ,who requested that the Council demonstrate that an assessment is prepared to demonstrate that the level of employment being planned for at Magna Park is justified. Harborough Council rebutted Daventry DC's request that the Council has not justified this requirement stating that "No assessment has been made as to whether the proposed maximum floorspace limit would have an impact on existing and proposed strategic rail freight interchanges (SRFI) (2b) as it is considered that the scope and scale of such a study would not be proportionate or conclusive. It is considered that the existing requirement set out in criteria 2b provides sufficient protection and consideration of SRFIs". It is clear that this work needs to be undertaken otherwise the Council's evidence has been retrospectively prepared to justify the approval of the applications at Magna Park .
2.10 Prologis considers that the reference in the policy to ensuring that any proposal, brought forward under the terms of Policy BE2 supports, or at least does not prejudice, the viability and deliverability of an SRFI in adjoining areas (a reference to DIRFT), demonstrates the clear acknowledgement by the Council that this is a genuine concern. This matter should be considered in the context of Plan making. If the Council considers this assessment to be disproportionate (which Prologis contests) and likely to be 'non-conclusive', then what basis is there for including this as a policy criteria?
2.11 Prologis and RRSLP note that Daventry District Council in their Committee Report [Report reference: SG.121017/4] [Appendix 1] to the Strategy Group on the 12th October 2017 in relation to the 'Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031 Proposed Submission Strategic Planning Issues' raise concerns with the soundness of the policies relating to the extension of Magna Park and:
1 Recommend that "further cross-boundary work with stakeholders is required to fully take into account the potential impact of different growth scenarios which could in turn indicate the amount of floorspace to be provided for at Magna Park".
2 Raise concerns with the scale of the Magna Park as being still far in excess of the identified need for the whole of Leicester and Leicestershire in one location. This also raises a further issue with the policy that the level of growth being planned for is not justified by evidence.
3 Note that through the examination of the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy [WNJCS] WNJCS that the examiner reduced the capacity of the proposed J16 employment area on the basis that its proposed scale was not justified by need and could discourage the increased transfer of freight to rail.
2.12 We also note that the Harborough Local Plan Draft Submission Stage (Regulation 19) Duty to Co-operate Statement (September 2017) identifies that North West Leicestershire District Council are unclear as to clear how the 700,000 sq m relates to the needs identified in the Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Distribution Sector Study which identifies need in terms of land take, but the proposed policy uses floorspace.
2.13 Overall, it is clear that the duty to cooperate has not been fulfilled with regards to the justification of the extension to Magna Park. It is clear from comments made by Daventry and North West Leicestershire that they are not convinced that Policy BE2 is effective or justified. Harborough Council has failed to justify delivering such a substantial extension to Magna Park and have not secured agreement with all the relevant authorities. Until this work is done Prologis and RRSLP consider that the plan is unsound and should not proceed.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

SS1 clause 2c. Strategic storage and distribution

Representation ID: 7274

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Prologis UK Ltd.

Agent: Lichfields

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation Summary:

Object for the following reasons:
- amount of employment land quoted in SS1.2c does not reflect an up to date position (no Ref. to planning consent 15/00919/FUL)
- it fails to clearly set out the scale and distribution of new employment development, including strategic B8, as a total minimum or maximum amount
- not based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements
- doesn't robustly justify the amount, more than double the requirement, for road-based strategic B8 development
- approach conflicts with strategic aims of NPPF, to reduce carbon emissions, and the National Networks Policy Statement (NPS) which prioritises distribution & warehousing sites served by rail.

Full text:

3.0 Policy SS1 The spatial strategy
3.1 Policy SS1 sets the overall framework for the Local Plan, setting out the proposed scale and distribution of new development by reference to existing and emerging growth plans for the sub-region of Leicester and Leicestershire and to the existing hierarchy of settlements within the District, with a focus on those at the higher levels of the hierarchy. With regards to employment land Policy SS1 (2)(b) states:
"Business: safeguard important existing employment areas, identify sites to meet future economic development needs and replace losses in the stock of employment land for offices (B1(a) and (b)), industry (B1(c) and B2) and non strategic storage and distribution (B8) as follows:
i. about 16.5 hectares of employment land already completed or committed, including through planning applications, resolutions to grant permissions and allocations in made neighbourhood plans;
ii. about 23 hectares of employment land in the East of Lutterworth SDA;
iii. about 35.5 hectares of employment land on other sites allocated in this Local Plan.
c. Strategic storage and distribution: safeguard existing provision at Magna Park and ensure further sites contribute towards meeting the future requirement for non rail-served land across Leicester and Leicestershire in accordance with Policy BE2.
Consideration of Policy
3.2 Policy SS1 (2)(c) seeks to safeguard existing provision at Magna Park and ensure further sites contribute towards meeting the future requirement for non rail-served land across Leicester and Leicestershire in accordance with Policy BE2. Prologis UK Limited and RRSLP object to the provisions of Policy SS1 (2) (c) because the amount of employment land quoted in the spatial strategy is not an up to date reflection of the position in the District. The Council has granted planning permission for the erection of a 100,844sqm Storage and Distribution centre (B8) with ancillary B1(a) offices on land adjoining and linked to Magna Park, including formation of access road from Magna Park, erection of gatehouse, creation of roundabouts, partial realignment of Mere Lane and upgrading of A5 to dual carriageway, creation of SuDS facilities and associated infrastructure and landscaping works [LPA ref: 15/00919/FUL]. This site measures 55.41ha and therefore has not been reflected in the drafting of the policy or referred to in the Reasoned Justification.
3.3 Prologis and RRSLP consider that Policy SS1 is misleading in terms of the actual amount of employment land needed in the District. It is unclear why the Council has not stated its entire employment land requirement including strategic B8 as a minimum or a maximum amount in its spatial strategy.
3.4 The reasoned justification [para 3.1.1] states that Policy SS1 sets the overall Framework for the rest of the Local Plan, setting out the proposed scale and distribution of new development by reference to existing and emerging growth plans for the sub-region of Leicester and Leicestershire and to the existing hierarchy of settlements within the District, with a focus on those at the higher levels of the hierarchy. With regards to employment land Prologis and RRSLP consider that it does not clearly set out the scale and distribution of new employment development nor does it properly reflect the scale of the proposed extension to Magna Park.
Tests of Soundness
3.5 Prologis and RRSLP considers that Policy SS1(2) (c) fails to meet the following tests of soundness because it is not:
1 Positively Prepared: Policy SS1(2) (c) is not based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements. The scale of employment land quoted in the policy is not an accurate reflection of the position nor does the policy clearly identify the entire employment land requirement for the District.
2 Justified: The Council has not robustly justified the amount of strategic B8 development needed within Harborough. The Council proposes an extension to Magna Park which will deliver strategic B8 development and associated facilities on 383 ha of land-more than double the requirement for non-rail served sites required in Leicestershire as well as delivering in excess of the gross land requirement for strategic B8 development by 2031. Further work needs to be undertaken in order to justify this amount of road based B8 development specific to Harborough and in the context of Leicester and Leicestershire.
3 Effective: The policy is not effective as it fails to clearly identify the total minimum amount of employment land that is needed within the District including strategic B8. The SEELA (2017 Update) sets out the Borough's Employment Land Needs 2011-2031 but excludes strategic B8 development because it is identified within the L&LSDSS. Policy SS1 is confusing as drafted as it does not provide a clear and comprehensive approach to the amount of employment land needed. This is needed so it is clear for monitoring purposes going forward to 2031 and beyond.
4 Consistent with National Policy: The Plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the polices in the Framework. The proposals at Magna Park conflict with the overall strategic aims of the Framework which seeks to reduce carbon emissions through promoting sustainable transport modes, and the Government's National Networks National Policy Statement ('NPS') which prioritises distribution and warehousing sites served by rail.
Recommended Change
3.6 In order to address the conflicts identified above and ensure that Policy SS1(2) (c) is sound, it is requested that Harborough Council:
1 Provides an up to date assessment of their existing employment commitments and allocations which is reflected in the drafting of the policy. This should include strategic B8 development given the scale of the proposals.
2 Provides evidence justifying why it is appropriate for the Council to extend Magna Park and justify why it is appropriate for the District to allocate more than double the requirement for non-rail served sites required in Leicestershire as well as delivering in excess of the gross land requirement for strategic B8 development for Leicester and Leicestershire by 2031 in one location.
3 Provides evidence that the Council has robustly fulfilled its duty to cooperate with regards to meeting the concerns of Daventry and North West Leicestershire in terms of allocating in excess of the identified need for the whole of Leicester and Leicestershire in one location.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

6.1.4 TO 6.1.7 explanation

Representation ID: 7275

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Prologis UK Ltd.

Agent: Lichfields

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation Summary:

Reasons summarised as:
- does not provide a clear and comprehensive approach as para 6.1.7 / Table B.10 excludes strategic distribution
- Table B.11 Sources of Employment Land Supply needs to be updated to accurately reflect the position (i.e. planning consent 15/00919/FUL)
- unclear whether the plan meets objectively assessed employment need because the Council has not provided all the evidence to justify that the approach to general new business development combined with strategic B8 development is justified.
- overall employment land requirement not robustly justified. Further work needed to justify that this amount is appropriate and deliverable.

Full text:

4.0 Policy BE1 Provision of new business development
4.1 Policy BE1 provides for a supply of employment land in accordance with the settlement hierarchy and strategic aims of Policy SS1 The spatial strategy. Policy BE1 states that in addition to the delivery of existing commitments, a minimum of 59 hectares for office B1 (a) and (b), industrial B1(c) and B2, and non-strategic storage and distribution B8 will be focussed on development at Market Harborough and Lutterworth (particularly within the SDAs) as the District's main economic centres, and at Rural Centres all of which are well located, served by infrastructure and are accessible by sustainable modes of travel.

Consideration of Policy
4.2 Prologis UK Limited and RRSLP object to the Council's approach to the identification of employment land because it does not provide a clear and comprehensive approach. The Reasoned Justification (para.6.17 and Table B.10) identifies gross need for B Class employment land in Harborough District, excluding strategic distribution (B8 use in units over 9,000sq.m. gross floor-space), as a minimum of 51 hectares between 2011 and 2031 (HEDNA, Table 83). Prologis and RRSLP note that in line with the comments made in relation to Policy SS1, the Sources of Employment Land Supply (hectares) needs to be updated to accurately reflect the position. It is unclear why the Council has decided to exclude strategic B8 floorspace from the table when the approach to ensuring sufficient employment land needs to demonstrate that a comprehensive approach has been taken.

Tests of Soundness
4.3 Prologis and RRSLP considers that Policy BE1 fails to meet the following tests of soundness because it is not:
1. Positively Prepared: It is unclear whether the plan meets objectively assessed employment needs because the Council has not provided all the evidence to justify that that their approach to general new business development combined with strategic B8 development is justified. Whilst the Council state evidence is contained within the Leicester and Leicestershire Housing and Economic Development Need Assessment (HEDNA), SELAA, HDC Existing Employment Area Review (EEAR), L&LSDSS and L&L SDSS Update we do not consider that their approach to the amount of employment development is justified. We have made comments on the duty to cooperate above and do not seek to repeat them here.
2. It is not justified: The Council has not robustly justified its overall employment land requirements. Further work needs to be undertaken in order to justify that this amount of development is appropriate and deliverable.

Recommended Change
4.4 In order to address the conflicts identified above and ensure that Policy BE1 is sound, it is requested that the Council:
1. Provide a table setting out a clear strategy for all employment land needs for the period 2011-2031. This should include office (B1), industrial (B2), general distribution (B8) and strategic distribution (B8) so there is a clear hierarchy of need.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

BE2 clause 2

Representation ID: 7276

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Prologis UK Ltd.

Agent: Lichfields

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation Summary:

Reasons for objection are summarised as:
- the Council has not taken full account of evidence in the L&LSDSS, particularly that a geographical spread of sites is offered, this scale of development in 1 location is not justified
- the implications of directing a substantial amount of growth to Magna Park go beyond the defined FEMA / HMA and have not been robustly considered
- agreement has not been reached within the Leicestershire Planning Authorities, County Council, LEP that Magna Park is the correct location for this scale of development
- the policy has the potential to; impact negatively on the operation of the country's leading SFRI (DIRFT), deter investment & implementation of the DCO approved NSIP project (DIRFT III)and impact negatively on the delivery of national planning policy
- the policy has the potential to undermine modal-shift and the associated on-going educational process
- its highly likely that development at Magna Park will displace demand for units at DIRFT III (non-rail and rail served schemes do not compete on a level playing field) and have implications on labour availability
- the evidence, including the Sustainability Appraisal,is based on pre-determined assumptions to justify approval of planning applications for Magna Park and any alternatives have not been robustly considered
- the MP Employment Growth Sensitivity Study does not justify the scale of allocation at Magna Park, it provides evidence justifying additional housing needed to support growth
- the U-Turn from current Core Strategy policy CS7 is not fully justified by the evidence
- preparation of policy has not taken account of necessary cross-boundary discussions with neighbouring authorities (WNJPU, DDC)

In summary the policy fails to meet the tests of soundness because it:
1. has not take account of cross-boundary discussions with neighbouring authorities,
2. has not justified the amount of strategic B8 needed in Harborough, or that Magna Park is the most reasonable location out of all alternatives.
3. conflicts with the overall aims of the NPPF and NNNPS, to reduce carbon emissions and prioritise sites served by rail.

Full text:

5.0 Policy BE2 Strategic Distribution
5.1 Policy BE2 states:
1. Magna Park, as identified on the Policies Map, is safeguarded for strategic storage and distribution (Class B8). Proposals for redevelopment at the existing site will be permitted where:
a. each unit has at least 9,000 sq.m. gross floorspace; and
b. any new building or the change of use of an existing building(s) is for Class B8 and ancillary use only; or
c. the proposal for any non-strategic storage and distribution use is small-scale, proportionate in scale to the strategic storage and distribution use and ancillary to the use of individual plots.
2. Additional development of up to 700,000 sq.m. for non rail-served strategic storage and distribution (Class B8) use will be permitted where it would:
a. form an extension of, or be on a site adjoining, Magna Park;
b. support or at least have no adverse impact on the viability and deliverability of existing or further Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFIs) within or serving neighbouring authorities and Leicestershire;
c. increase employment opportunities for local residents, including training and apprenticeships;
d. include measures to enable an increase in the proportion of the workforce commuting from locations within Harborough District;
e. not lead to severe traffic congestion anywhere on the nearby strategic and local road network, particularly the A5, whether within Harborough District or outside; and
f. ensure 24 hour operations do not have an unacceptable environmental, community or landscape impact in the immediate and wider surrounding area".

Consideration of Policy
General Comments
5.2. Prologis and RRSLP do not seek to repeat comments made above on the scale of the Magna Park extension but note that Prologis and RRSLP are concerned that the Council has not taken full account of evidence in the L&LSDSS which states that "in order to maintain and enhance the competitive position currently enjoyed by the region/sub-region, it is vitally important that the market in future is offered a geographical spread of commercially attractive sites available to satisfy individual operator locational requirements" [para 3.9]. Prologis and RRSLP considers that the Council has not robustly justified the spread of sites and in particular the implications of directing a substantial amount of their employment land requirement to the Magna Park Site. It is also considered that there are a significant number of strategic distribution sites within close proximity to each other and whilst the Council has drawn the line within the Leicestershire FEHMA it is considered that the implications of the Magna Park extension go beyond this area and affect the future success of DIRFT III and other rail linked sites.
5.3. The L&LSSDS notes that there is a need to maintain competitive advantage with continued development of new commercially attractive strategic sites in the East Midlands, a significant proportion of which will need to be directly rail-served (in addition to the usual requirements for high quality connections to the strategic highway network) (para 2.2.9). Whilst here is a need for road based strategic distribution development it is considered that this scale of development in one location is not justified.
5.4. The L&LSSDS notes Leicestershire and Local planning authorities should have a clear understanding of business needs within the economic markets operating in and across their area and work together with neighbouring authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships to prepare and maintain a robust evidence base to understand both existing business needs and likely changes in the market (para. 3.5). Prologis and RRSLP consider that the Council's evidence has not fully considered the implications of promoting such a substantial road based B8 allocation in this part of Harborough.
5.5. Whilst the L&LSSDS Update identifies that there are Key Areas of Opportunity for road linked and rail linked strategic distribution development and Magna Park falls within this area of need, the L&LSSDS Update does not specifically recommend that the entire Leicester and Leicestershire B8 employment land requirement should be provided at Magna Park. Indeed, it recommends that "delivering new commercially attractive strategic sites within at least two of the key areas of opportunity simultaneously cannot be undertaken by local planning authorities working alone. The NPPF now places a duty to cooperate on planning authorities when covering issues that cross administrative boundaries, particularly those which relate to the strategic priorities. Given the above, delivering the identified need will require continual long-term strategic and collaborative planning across the county of Leicestershire, and potentially with authorities in neighbouring areas outside the county" (p.25). It is clear from the Duty to Co-operate Statement that there is still work to do to confirm agreement within the Leicestershire planning authorities, the County Council and Leicestershire LEP that Magna Park is the correct location for this scale of development. It is also clear from the evidence that requirement should be spread to more than one location.
Implications on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and rail-based fright distribution
5.6. Prologis UK Limited and RRSLP objects to Policy BE2 on the basis that the policy promotes the potential release of a significant road-based distribution development in proximity to an approved Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), which seeks to deliver the government's agenda of rail-based fright distribution. Policy BE2 therefore has the potential to impact negatively on the delivery of national planning policy.
5.7. Given that the DIRFT III Site is situated just beyond the boundary of the Functioning Economic Market Area (FEMA) the effects of proposed extension to Magna Park on DIRFT III are not considered to be robustly sufficient. Whilst Prologis and RRSLP welcomes the policy criteria 2 (b) which places a requirement on the applicant to demonstrate "no adverse impact on the viability and deliverability of existing or further Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFIs) within or serving neighbouring authorities and Leicestershire". It is highly likely that Magna Park will displace demand for units at DIRFT III as well as have implications on the availability of employees to work on the DIRFT III Site and other consented sites in the locality. Indeed, the Logistics & Distribution Sector Growth Action Plan Final Report notes that LLEP Business Survey 2015 found that just under 40% of logistics and distribution sector companies had undertaken recruitment activity in the past 12 months, with 18% reporting difficulties in filling vacancies in the Leicester and Leicestershire LEP Area. The Action Plan notes that issues are concentrated on two job roles - vehicle drivers accounting for 73% of all hard to fill vacancies and warehouse operatives a further 15% [para 2.2.3]. It is noted that whilst the Magna Park Employment Growth Sensitivity Study identifies that it has sought to consider where the additional workforce might come from. This is invariably a complex issue, influenced by accessibility, transport links, demographics and housing provision. The Study starting point has been to consider existing commuting patterns to Magna Park.
5.8. Prologis and RRSLP urge the Council to fully consider the implications of allocating this scale of extension to Magna Park, given that potential occupiers who may well currently be considering rail-based options for their distribution networks, will be provided with a road-based alternative. Whilst those occupiers who have invested in rail are beginning to see the benefits of such a modal switch, it remains an on-going educational process, to the extent that providing an alternative road-based option has the potential to undermine this process. Clearly, such an alternative could well deter the on-going investment at the DIRFT, to the detriment not only to its operation as the Country's leading SRFI, but also the implementation of the DCO-approved expansion scheme issued by the Secretary of State. Equally, the sustainable transport benefits of this project, delivered through an increase in rail-based distribution traffic that were pivotal to the success of the application, will be placed at risk.
5.9. There is a further implication of allowing non-rail related distribution development close to DIRFT III or any Rail Freight Interchange due to the relatively lower cost of bringing forward non-rail based development (without the added financial burden of securing rail linkages and the associated infrastructure). Typically, because they do not carry the same level of infrastructure costs, non-rail developments can secure a competitive advantage in terms of rent and accommodation costs they are able to offer thus do not compete on a level playing field with rail-linked schemes. This is likely to then have the effect that occupiers gravitate to the non-rail-linked schemes and hence the government's objective of securing a movement of freight by rail is prejudiced.
5.10. Prologis and RRSLP draw your attention to the Report on the Examination into the West Northampton Joint Core Strategy Local Plan (December 2012) in relation to the proposed expansion of J16 of the M1 for strategic B8 employment uses where the Inspector found that "given the potential alternative sites available near, including the recent approval of a major extension of 345 ha to DIRFT for rail linked freight, there is no overriding local need for a major new strategic employment allocation on a greenfield site in the open countryside". Furthermore the Inspector, acknowledged that the development of "very large B8 uses, might well provide direct competition to DIRFT to the detriment of the delivery of both, potentially also discouraging the increased transfer of freight to rail" [Appendix 2].
5.11. The Council will also be aware of the decision by South Northamptonshire Council when granting planning permission for Class B2, B8 and ancillary B1, provision of a 2ha lorry park and associated infrastructure on land at Junction 16 of the M1 that they sought to not conflict with operations at the DIRFT III Site [LPA ref: S/2016/0400/EIA]. The Condition states: "that any building exceeding 40,000sqm in gross internal area shall only be occupied and operated by an existing Northampton based employer". The Reason states: "To ensure that units exceeding 40,000sqm that are not occupied and operated by existing Northampton based employers are directed towards DIRFT, to comply with the requirements of Policy E8, criterion e) of the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy".
5.12. RRSLP and Prologis note that DIRFT III to J.16 M1 (Midway Park) is 11.4 miles according to AA route planner and is of greater distance than DIRFT III to Magna Park. Magna Park to DIRFT III (Danes Way) to Parkway Magna Park is a lesser distance at only 9.5 miles. Given that an Inspector had concerns with the impact of Junction 16 of the M1 on DIRFT it is highly likely that Magna Park would have a greater influence. Whilst RRSLP and Prologis acknowledge that it is right for the Council to define an area of assessment, it is clear that the implications on DIRFT III go beyond the defined FEHMA.

Predetermined Evidence
5.13. Prologis and RRSLP considers that the evidence to justify the extension to Magna Park is based on pre-determined assumptions to justify the approval of the planning applications to extend the Magna Park Site1. There are various references through the Council's evidence which demonstrate such an approach.
5.14. The Harborough Local Plan Sustainability Appraisal (SA), also points towards predetermined evidence, and states that given the presence of three live planning applications. The SA notes that it was considered useful to base the options on the broad growth and distribution being proposed in the planning applications either individually or in combinations with one another. This resulted in five alternatives being appraised as follows:
1. Option A - 37 ha (100,844sq.m.) of growth corresponding with the location of planning application 15/00919/FUL.
2. Option B - 88ha ( 278,209sq.m.) of growth corresponding with the location of planning application 15/00865/OUT.
3. Option C - 232ha (432,425sq.m.) of growth corresponding with the location of planning application 15/01531/OUT.
4. Combination of A+B - (125 ha / 379,053sq.m. of growth).
5. Combination of B+C - (320 / 710,634sq.m. ha of growth).
5.15. This approach is fundamentally flawed. There is no evidence to justify the strategic allocation at Magna Park. The Council has not robustly considered any alternatives despite the L&LSDSS Update requiring two locations.
5.16. The Magna Park Employment Growth Sensitivity Study (2017) does not justify the scale of the allocation proposed at Magna Park. It is clear that this assessment work has been modelled to support the assessment of the planning applications at Magna Park1. The report essentially provides evidence justifying additional housing needed to support the growth of Magna Park.
5.17. Prologis and RRSLP are surprised by the policy U- Turn that the Council has taken to extending Magna Park because they inherently conflict with the District's current Core Strategy Policy CS7(h): "Protect Magna Park's unique role as a strategic distribution centre (B8 uses / Min unit size 10,000m2) of national significance and an exemplar of environmental performance. No further phase of development or large scale expansion of the site, beyond the existing development footprint (to be defined in the Allocations DPD) will be supported."
5.18. Furthermore, the Harborough District Council Core Strategy DPD Inspector's Report (November 2011) indicated that the future expansion of Magna Park is not required noting at [para 109 - para114] its links to the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) some 15km away, stating that Magna Park itself has no rail connection.
5.19. While now revoked, the East Midlands Regional Plan (RS) did not identify Magna Park as a preference for strategic distribution. The RS established a clear priority for sites which can be served by rail freight and can operate as intermodal terminals.
5.20. It has not been demonstrated why the Council has suddenly gone from no further expansion to Magna Park to now promoting substantial expansion to it. RRSLP and Prologis consider that it is in response to the applications submitted at Magna Park. The reasons for such a change are not fully justified by evidence.
Tests of Soundness
5.21. Prologis UK Limited and RRSLP consider that Policy BE2 fails to meet the following tests of soundness because:
1. Positively Prepared: The preparation of the policy has not take account of necessary cross-boundary discussions with neighbouring authorities (West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit and Daventry District Council) in relation to the quantum of strategic distribution development and, importantly, the location of such development - recognising that commercial demand for strategic distribution development does not adhere to local government administrative boundaries.
2. Justified: The Council has not robustly justified the amount of strategic B8 development needed within Harborough or that Magna Park is the most reasonable location out of all alternatives..
3. Effective: The policy is not effective as it not based on effective cross boundary planning but is based on predetermined evidence used to justify the approval of planning applications at the Magna Park Site.
4. Consistent with National Policy: The Plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the polices in the Framework. The proposals at Magna Park conflict with the overall strategic aims of the Framework which seeks to reduce carbon emissions through promoting sustainable transport modes, and the National Networks National Policy Statement ('NNNPS') which prioritises distribution and warehousing sites served by rail.

Recommended Change
5.22. In order to address the conflicts identified above and ensure that BE2 is sound, it is requested that Harborough Council:
1. Undertakes further consultation with neighbouring authorities as it is clear that the duty to cooperate has not been fulfilled with regards to the justification of the extension to Magna Park. It is clear from comments made by Daventry and North West Leicestershire that they are not convinced that Policy BE2 is effective or justified. Harborough Council has failed to justify delivering such a substantial extension to Magna Park and have not secured agreement with all the relevant authorities. Until this work is done Prologis and RRSLP consider that the plan is unsound and should not proceed.
2. Provides evidence justifying why it is appropriate for the Council to extend Magna Park and justify why it is appropriate for the District to allocate more than double the requirement for non-rail served sites required in Leicestershire as well as delivering in excess of the gross land requirement for strategic B8 development for Leicester and Leicestershire by 2031 in one location.
3. Provides evidence that the Council has robustly fulfilled its duty to cooperate with regards to meeting the concerns of Daventry and North West Leicestershire in terms of allocating in excess of the identified need for the whole of Leicester and Leicestershire in one location.

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