Hope for hundreds more jobs as industrial estate expansion approved
Hundreds of new jobs are set to be created at an industrial area on the outskirts of a Staffordshire village after councillors gave the green light for two developments.
The extension to Hixon Airfield Industrial Estate could generate 464 jobs, while another phased development nearby will provide space for light and general industrial businesses and storage and distribution buildings.
Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee approved both applications for land off New Road at a special meeting on Tuesday.
But concerns were raised by Hixon Parish Council about an increase in traffic movements on the village’s roads, lack of public transport for workers to travel to and from the site and the type of jobs that would be available at the new developments.
Parish council clerk Catherine Gill told Tuesday’s meeting that a Neighbourhood Plan consultation found that 90 per cent of people who worked at Hixon’s industrial estates came in from outside the area – and 85 per cent of Hixon residents travelled out of the parish to their own workplaces.
“The business types don’t generally meet the local employment aspirations, however Hixon Neighbourhood Plan did show support for high technology, leisure, information technology, skilled technology and education. There should be a place for more science, IT and admin businesses.
“In the morning and evening there are hundreds of cars travelling in either direction – there can be cars backed up travelling to the A51. The only hourly bus service is between Stafford and Uttoxeter and there is no public transport from Hixon to Rugeley or Stone.”
Borough and parish councillor Brendan McKeown called for opportunities to improve public transport links for Hixon to be considered.
He said: “We want to try and get some planning gain for the residents of Hixon – there is just a limited bus service.
“My ward, with Councillor Alexander Brown, is Haywood and Hixon – but there is no public transport linking Haywood with Hixon. This means people in Hixon can’t access the medical practice in Great Haywood and people in the Haywoods can’t access employment opportunities in Hixon through public transport.”
John Health, speaking in support of the phased development of land at Air and Ground Aviation, said planning permission had previously been granted for a larger building on the site, which was not constructed.
“Now this will be split into five phases, plus one previously constructed unit, with a total building footprint of 1.8 acres – half that which was previously approved”, he said.
“The site will be served by a new access from New Road, removing any access from the airfield estate road. Highways agree the application would generate less impact than the previous approval.”
Outline planning permission has also already been granted for the extension to the Hixon Airfield Industrial Estate. The planning application considered on Tuesday dealt access, layout, scale, appearance and landscaping at the site.
Paul Instore, who spoke in support of the application, said: “The site is allocated for employment development and lies within a recognised industrial estate. The scheme has been designed to create a high quality development and generous landscaping.
“It is designed to attract new businesses to the area and retain existing businesses. It will provide a high quality contribution to the development portfolio in Hixon and Stafford Borough.”