Broxbourne Borough Council wants to stop IKEA from selling land exclusively for warehousing.
According to the council, the Swedish multinational owns a plot for sale near Waltham Cross and the buyer wants to “maximise warehousing” on the site.
But at a meeting on Tuesday, February 14, senior councillors agreed the authority must look again at its own planning rule which dictate what should be built at Park Plaza North.
A report by Broxbourne Borough Council sets out the site has never “been envisaged by the council [as] a warehouse-dominated development”.
Instead, the council’s cabinet wants to encourage “general industrial and major industrial developments” on borough land which “both typically provide higher job densities and a greater variety of jobs than warehouses”.
Policies to enable a new railway station for Park Plaza North – which lies north of the News UK Newsprinters near the A10 and M25 junction – would also be considered as part of the Local Plan review.
Council leader Cllr Lewis Cocking said: “This is our last major employment piece of land we have left in this Local Plan. It’s very important. I always say ‘Broxbourne is open for business’, but it’s not open to just any sort of business.
“We want that site to be full with lots of different businesses to give the best opportunities to the people of Waltham Cross. We’re making our mission to upskill as many residents as possible.”
The Broxbourne Local Plan 2018-2033 sets out development on Park Plaza North should feature “bulky goods retailers … and a mix of B1 (offices), B2 (general industrial) and B8 (distribution or storage)”.
Another policy in the document notes the council will try to work with Network Rail and other stakeholders to look at how feasible a railway station would be at Park Plaza.
An approved Supplementary Planning Document from 2022 adds the council’s “vision” is for a “substantial, sustainable and diverse source of employment opportunities”.
It adds: “It will be a regionally significant development that is an integral element of the wider renaissance of Waltham Cross and the diversification of Broxbourne’s economy. A comprehensively planned scheme is sought which would include a mix of business, industrial and logistics uses set alongside the relocation of bulky goods retailers from Waltham Cross town centre and a new railway station.”
The report which the cabinet debated notes IKEA and the “likely purchasers” feel these policies would unlock a mix of employment uses which can “maximise warehouse production”. It adds IKEA has questioned the need for a railway station. The Local Plan review could set a more “nuanced” policy for Park Plaza North once it is complete.
Park Plaza North is one of five strategic employment sites in Broxbourne Borough Council’s plan – alongside Park Plaza West set aside for Hollywood’s new Sunset Studios, a data centre next to the A10 at Maxwells Farm, a new town centre at Brookfield and an urban village at Cheshunt Lakeside. IKEA did not respond to a request for comment
Image source: Ikea
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