Reactions to the approval of the application for a new logistics warehouse with ancillary offices and aircraft museum in Membury – 9 February 2023.

On 8 February 2023, West Berkshire Council’s (WBC) Western Area Planning Committee agreed Walker Logistics’ reserved matters application plans for a new logistics warehouse with ancillary offices and aircraft museum on land south of Tower Works off Ramsbury Road in Membury, which was part of the WWII Membury airfield.

The following statements were provided buy, first, Walker Logistics and, second, by the Woodlanders Protection Group. Both are reproduced below verbatim. The matter is also referred to in the Thursday 9 February 2023 section of our Lambourn Valley Weekly News column. If anyone has any other views on this matter, please either use the “Leave a Reply” box at the foot of the post or email brian@pennypost.org.uk.

Statement from Walker Logistics

During the meeting, Philip Walker explained how he started the logistics business 24 years ago when he bought the Membury site which then consisted of a series of neglected commercial buildings and unsightly outside storage. Over several years he remodelled the land and buildings into a modern, functional logistics facility. Philip Walker started with just one employee in 1999. Since then he has grown Walker Logistics steadily, now employing over 150 full time members of staff. The business is now run by him and his sons.

Addressing the committee Philip Walker said: “if planning permission is granted, once the new building is completed and fully operational we estimate it will create an additional 200 new jobs based on our current business customer to staff ratio.

“My family is passionate about the WWII history and the important role Membury played during the war and the repatriation Europe. As part of our outline application, we included a WWII museum to show the story of Membury for the benefit of the general public. Ten years ago the family rescued a Dakota aircraft from a scrap yard as it had operated from Membury during the war years including an important role in the D-Day operations. The aircraft is hoped to be flying again in 2023 and will form part of a display at the museum when practical.”

In response to objectors’ concerns that the museum would be used as an operational aircraft hangar, Philip Walker assured the committee that this was not the case, explaining that the Dakota needed to be located at an airport where it has both maintenance and refuelling facilities.

After the meeting Philip Walker said that “my family is pleased the council has backed our business expansion plans. It’s great news for our employees, for the sustainability of this rural community, as well as for fellow aviation enthusiasts! Once up and running I hope opponents will see their fears were unfounded. As the ward councillor acknowledged in his statement, we are a responsible, well-run business with an excellent reputation. I am delighted we can now grow and provide more jobs for our local community.”

Statement from the Woodlanders Protection Group

The Woodlanders Protection Group is disappointed by the latest decision from WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee.

Following the approval of outline planning permission in 2021, we have seen significant changes to the scheme and a lack of detailed studies on such things  as flooding, environmental impact, aircraft movements and changing road traffic implications. We expected to be consulted on these changes but we’re not.

The proposers of this development say that there is significant economic development by job creation in the local area but we know that workers are bussed in from Reading and Swindon,

This development is one of the single largest in West Berkshire directly impacting on the homes, lives and safety of everyone living and working here and we have ,largely been ignored by WBC.

• The two CGI images at the top were supplied by Walker Logistics. One is a view taken within the site of the entrance to the new logistics warehouse. The other is the view from Ramsbury Road into the new access road with landscaping showing how it is likely to look after 15 years.

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