RESIDENTS are waiting with bated breath to see if the construction of Jaguar Land Rover’s new Logistics Operations Centre (LOC) in Solihull, starting in January, will result in traffic chaos.
JLR announced that that work is due to commence on the project this month and is estimated to run for around 57 weeks.
It follows a three-year process of planning and consultation with local residents.
The building site which lies within the Green Belt on land near Solihull Football Club in Damson Parkway, is as big as 13 football pitches (91,800m2).
It will store and supply parts for the adjacent Solihull vehicle manufacturing plant. JLR is working with local property company, Prologis UK and contractor Winvic “to ensure it brings lasting social and environmental benefits through green infrastructure funding and environmental building standards”.
Elmdon councillor Glenis Slater, who had originally petitioned against the development on behalf of local residents, is worried the road alteration works required will cause serious traffic congestion over the next 12 months.
She said: “I attended a meeting at JLR just before Christmas and was informed that the work would start in the first few weeks of January.
“The contractors, they told us, were going to keep disruption minimal for residents, but I don’t know how they will minimise disruption while the realignment of the road is underway. There’s going to be so much traffic with all the HGVs and congestion at staff shift changes.
“We will have to wait and see what happens – we are all waiting with bated breath.
“It was in 2017 that planning permission went through but then nothing happened.
“I was rather annoyed last spring when hedgerows were torn down on Old Damson Road – we could have had them for another season.”
Concerns have previously been raised over the work needed to build a new road to the site. This will involve realigning the existing route of Damson Parkway, creating a dual carriageway with bus stops, a traffic light controlled crossing, a dedicated footpath and an off-road cycle path.
A spokeswoman for JLR said: “Local company Prologis UK and its contractor, Winvic Construction, are very experienced in the successful delivery of complex infrastructure projects.
“They take a hyper-local approach and together with Jaguar Land Rover, are working closely with Solihull Council, councillors and residents to both mitigate disruption and ensure residents are fully informed of progress.
“Construction traffic will be minimised and only during daylight hours. As the project progresses, there will be increased traffic management in place to ensure that there is a smooth flow and disruption is kept to a minimum. Traffic will be monitored and major deliveries scheduled to minimise disruption.”
A project update from Winvic Construction was hand-delivered to residents before Christmas.
The LOC project is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero mission and the company estimates it will reduce West Midlands freight traffic by one million miles and save 1,120 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Once complete in 2021, the LOC will help deliver technological improvements including logistics, in-plant operations, connectivity and automation. The building will have storage for 32,000 pallets with the ability to process 1,000 pallets per hour.
Solihull Council’s planning committee approved the expansion scheme in May 2017 with a majority vote but there were 109 objections and a petition with 74 signatures.
Objections were raised over the further erosion of green belt, the loss of magnificent views from Elmdon park, and increased congestion on an already busy road.
Jaguar Land Rover and Prologis have created a dedicated community website, prologisloc, where anyone can find out up to date information about the project.
A dedicated single point of contact email for anyone interested in the development has been provided at email@example.com.