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DX Freight hub battle is over at long last after appeal is withdrawn

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Residents can breathe a sigh of relief after DX Freight's appeal against the refusal of its proposed £36 million super hub was withdrawn.

The scheme, which was earmarked for a 40-acre site off Hobnock Road, Essington, has prompted outrage in the village for 18 months in a stand-off that has rumbled on.

Demonstrations have been held by outraged residents against the plans, which they claim would have been inappropriate for green belt land, as well as increasing traffic, lorry pollution and noise in the area.

Less than a year after South Staffordshire Council refused DX Freight's £36 million bid to relocate its base at Willenhall to Essington, the authority refused scaled-down plans in February this year.

A public inquiry was scheduled to start on September 5 after the company appealed the first refusal, however the authority now says DX 'does not plan to take any further action regarding this site and will look for an alternative elsewhere'.

Essington ward Councillor David Clifft, who has stood side-by-side with residents in their fight, said: "I am just absolutely overjoyed at this, this is something that has gone on for so long and residents have faced so many challenges.

"It has been an excellent campaign from residents, which just shows what people can do when they put their minds together.

"A lot of people said before the first application that money had spoken and this was a done deal, which they said again with the second application.

This proves that money doesn't talk when people work together for what they think is right for their community and I hope other communities can look at what we have done and take heart."

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The move would have secured the firm's 550 jobs as well as create dozen more positions. Other benefits touted included £150,000 to be invested in improving local roads, £271,000 set aside to maintain the development as well as the creation of a wildflower meadow on part of the land which had originally been earmarked for a 'phase 2' expansion in the future.

DX Freight's original proposal was rejected in May 2016.

The firm appealed the decision and that was the scheme which was due going to be ruled on by a Government planning inspectorate in September.

DX has now withdrawn that appeal prompting the hearing to be cancelled.

In the meantime the firm had submitted a scaled-down bid for the Hobnock Road site which was turned down by the council in February.

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