MEMBERS of the public have been given their first glimpse of plans to build a huge industrial complex in Test Lane that could create hundreds of jobs.
Architects presented bold plans to develop land in Test Lane, next to the Daily Echo’s offices and print works, at a public meeting yesterday.
The meeting was held at Coxford Community Centre in Olive Road, Coxford – three miles away from the proposed site.
Observers saw artist’s impressions put together by architects Michael Sparks Associates on behalf of developers Evander Properties Ltd.
The proposals include three distribution buildings and a public park area adjacent to Gover Road, which would act as a public amenity area and a buffer between the site and people living nearby.
As reported by the Daily Echo, residents in the road were concerned that the development could lead to an increase in traffic and were disappointed at the potential loss of a green space used by dog walkers and families.
The 21,371 square metres warehouse and office complex was chosen because of its location near the busy Port of Southampton and its easy access to the M271.
Pre-planning documents show that the units would be 45ft tall and would have parking spaces for 305 cars.
The 16-acre plot was previously a gravel extraction site before being filled in with construction waste.
Ashley Chambers, lead architect on the project, said: “We are looking to create a modern distribution and industrial park that will employ a lot of people.
“We have been talking to different operators and we are hopeful one or more will go through at the next stage.
“The centre will not necessarily serve the docks – there will be a mix of white collar and blue collar workers on site.”
Mr Chambers reassured residents that lorries and HGVs would not use Gover Road and said that measures would be in place to deter workers from turning left out of the site and on to Test Lane.
He added: “There are not any sites like this in Southampton that is allocated and has ideal land that can hold these buildings.”
Peter Wyatt, 57, of Kendal Avenue, made the trip to Coxford Community Centre to see the plans.
He said: “I am concerned the development will exacerbate pollution in the area due to the gas underneath the field.
“It will affect people on site. We need jobs, there’s no doubt about it, but why put people’s heath at risk first?
“There are units on Millbrook Road that they could move into.”
Daniel Wiseman, a planning consultant for planners Turley at Adanac Park, also attended the event.
He said: “There are plans to get employment right across the south coast and if this port is going to meet these aspirations then this is central to the decision.”
Another public meeting will be held at Redbridge Community School in Cuckmere Lane this evening, from 5pm until 8.30pm.