County Durham sheds primed for green light
Three units totalling close to 270,000 sq ft at Aycliffe Business Park are set for approval, along with a 124,000 sq ft facility for Bidfood close to Chester-le-Street.
Durham Council’s county planning committee meets on 6 February to consider the two applications.
With Ryder as architect and Lichfields as planner, Merchant Anglo (Amazon Park) has put forward plans for Plot 3B at the £90m, 65-acre Merchant Park, within the wider Aycliffe Business Park.
The site sits adjacent to the Hitachi Rail rolling stock assembly plant within Merchant Park, with the Stockton & Darlington Railway close by.
Ryder’s design & access statement said: “The principal aim is to provide a loose fit, base build to each unit with a plug and play approach, enabling processes to be organised and serviced to meet individual future tenant requirements.
“The buildings are designed around an efficient structural grid to provide flexible manufacturing/warehouse/ancillary accommodation.”
Each of the three warehouses would include supporting office accommodation, along with logistics floorspace of, respectively 52,500 sq ft, 89,000 sq ft and 126,500 sq ft.
On what is an allocated employment site in a burgeoning industrial & logistics area, approval is recommended.
Close to Chester-le-Street, the plans put forward by Arbucc (Drum) are for a project, billed as Panther Court, which would accommodate a warehouse for wholesaler Bidfood.
Bidfood plans for Panther Court to replace the Gateshead depot in itds national network of 24 sites – Gateshead is working at full capacity, with the Penrith and Wakefield sites having to step in to cover.
The site lies to the west of Drum Road, on the western side of Drum Industrial Estate which itself lies to the north-west of Chester-le-Street.
QAD is the architect, and Progress Planning Consultancy the planner, with Fore Consulting, RPS, Apex and Arc Environmental also on the professional team.
Currently vacant, the plot is allocated as employment land in the County Durham plan and has been the subject of earth moving and land remodelling works following its former use as a quarry.
The site benefits from an extant planning permission for a single distribution unit of 184,615 sq ft granted in 2012 – a further consent was granted more recently for six smaller units amounting to a total 154,000 sq ft
With the main Drum Road Estate road to the east, the site is bounded on the north by modern, existing logistics and industrial units of varying sizes and to the south by a group of smaller two-storey business park units known as Lumley Court – both these developments lie at a lower level than the proposed site.
The land is accessed from Drum Road, which in turn joins the A693 to the south via a roundabout, and this dual carriageway directly links to Chester-le-Street town centre and Junction 63 of the A1 (M) to the north.
The proposals will provide 198 parking spaces and 50 cycle spaces, and will be served by a new 7.3m wide road using the existing access point from Drum Road
Bidfood said the project will secure continued employment of 196 staff who would be relocated from the Gateshead depot, with further future employment for approximately 50 staff over the next five years.
The applications can be viewed on the Durham Council planning portal with the references DM/23/01932/FPA for Bidfood and DM/23/02905/FPA for Merchant Park.