Frequently Asked Questions

The following are various Questions and Answers which have been collated to help you when reviewing the proposals.

There may be further updates as the consultation progresses
 

Why are you looking to extend the existing i54 Business Park?

i54 South Staffordshire is a hugely successful employment site and home to a number of respected businesses such as Jaguar Land Rover, Moog, ISP, Eurofins and ERA Home Securities. With only 15 acres remaining, the City of Wolverhampton Council and Staffordshire County Council are looking at other employment land opportunities to meet high demand.

The 100 acre (40 hectare) extension comprising 60 acres in City ownership and 40 acres in Severn Trent ownership is in South Staffordshire and falls under the South Staffordshire Planning Authority.

The Councils are looking to use the 60 for additional employment land and an access road to encourage further investment and to realise the potential of i54.

What is the current land use of the 100 acre proposed Western Extension?

The 60 acres owned by the City Council is in agricultural use for grazing and pasture. The 40 acres owned by Severn Trent has not been used for many years. Both the 60 and 40 acres has been designated for industrial use in the district council Local Plan. Due to its location next to an existing industrial site and the motorway, in addition to the wider economic benefits created, it is felt this will be the best future use of the land.

It has formed part of South Staffordshire Council Local Plan Site Allocation Document (SAD) which has been the subject of extensive consultation and reviewed at the Public Hearing in December 2017 at which it obtained extremely positive support from the Planning Inspector conducting the Examination in Public.

It is anticipated the 100 acres extension will be adopted as Employment Land during summer 2018.

A Pre-Planning Application Consultation was held with South Staffordshire Planning team late 2017 and it was advised that an outline planning application will be prepared for submission spring 2018.

How will the local area benefit?

The following are some of the i54 achievements to date;

  • Over 263,000m2 of completed or committed development which will provide circa 4,600 jobs. Current employment at circa 2,500
  • 40% of employees on i54 live within a 10 mile radius. This percentage is going to rise
  • Hundreds of local residents’ lives are being improved through supported employment programmes such as Sector Based Work Academies
  • Over 3,500 pupils and students benefitted from targeted skills & education programmes
  • Over £1bn investment committed to i54.

It is estimated that the 60 acre i54 Western Extension will create over another 1,500 high value jobs. This is in addition to millions of pounds worth of new investment to the area. As with the current i54 site, the extension will support further investment, business development and job creation in the wider area through the supply chain. In addition, the businesses will help to increase and diversify skills for the local workforce.

How will the development be accessed?

Development and permanent traffic would not impact on local routes - The new extension would benefit from the infrastructure and motorway access already created for the original i54 site.

The new development will have a vehicular access at the northeast corner of the site, direct from the existing roundabout created as part of the i54 development. All goods vehicles, public transport and employee car trips will use this access.

A spine road with an additional roundabout will be constructed running south along a ‘green corridor’ adjacent to the Jaguar Land Rover boundary, providing direct access to the new development.

A pedestrian and cycle access will be provided from Wobaston Road to the south of the site.

Pedestrian links are proposed within the development to allow access to the repositioned bridleway and to Pendeford Hall Lane/Lawn Lane and the Pendeford Nature Reserve.

How will servicing and deliveries affect neighbouring properties and the existing road system?

Construction traffic on and off the site will be directly off the M54.

Servicing and deliveries will access the development via the proposed access road in the north east of the site, linking to the wider i54 site with the access road which has been designed to accommodate additional traffic.

As with the i54 development, all vehicles will be required to access via M54 J2 with the ‘ bus only ’ restriction from Wobaston Road being maintained on the southern boundary of the i54 site.

The planning application for the development will be supported by a detailed Transport Assessment which will outline the potential impacts of the development and the expected operation of the surrounding highway network.

The new access road built by the county council would be built between the original i54 business park and the extension site.

Will public transport be available to/within the development?

It is anticipated that the existing public transport services that link the i54 site to the wider region will be extended to service the proposed development. As part of the new access road design, a number of bus stop locations have been identified and will provide convenient access to all areas of the proposed development.

The provision of the dedicated pedestrian and cycle link to Wobaston Road will also provide opportunities to users of the development to utilise the existing services along Wobaston Road.

How many car parking spaces will be provided within the development?

The level of parking to be provided will be in line with current guidance from South Staffordshire District Council.

Will there be a Green Travel Plan for the development?

Yes. A Travel Plan for the proposed development will be developed as part of the planning application and will look to complement the existing sustainable travel measures in place on the wider i54 site.

The i54 site currently has a Travel Plan Steering Group who look to improve sustainable access to the site and occupiers on the new development will join this group.

What will happen to the existing bridleway/Middle Lane?

The Southern Section of Middle Lane bridleway will be re-routed further to the north but will still connect across from Lawn Lane to the section that runs along the edge of the i54 site. It will pass alongside a series of attenuation ponds and wildlife ponds. It will continue through areas planted with native trees and shrubs and with species-rich grass swards. Adjacent ground sloping away from the path may be fenced with timber post & rail.

A new pedestrian access point is proposed off Lawn Lane, for easier access to the Pendeford Nature Reserve. Employees of the new business park would also be able to use this new path.

How will the development be landscaped?

Structural landscaping will be provided in a ‘frame’ around the proposed development. New woodland planting consisting of a mixture of native trees and shrubs will be planted along Wobaston Road / Lawn Lane frontages. Where levels allow, earth bunds will provide additional visual and acoustic screening.

New woodland planting will extend alongside the new attenuation ponds and around the northern boundary. Where appropriate, wildflower and wetland grass mixes will be sown. Ponds and water features will be planted with marginal and marsh species to support amphibians and insects.

Retained woodland will be subject to management operations to ensure the continued health of mature and developing woodland and to increase bio- diversity of the ground flora.

Retained hedgerows will be augmented with new hedgerow trees. Where appropriate, the sections of Middle Lane hedge, which are earmarked for removal, will be translocated to other areas of the site.

The new access road from i54 will be routed through a landscaped corridor, which will include retained sections of Middle Lane hedge, avenues of trees, new hedgerows and grass verges.

What could the new buildings look like?

It is envisaged that any new buildings will follow the same principles of high quality design adopted by the existing units within the i54 Business Park, such as JLR, MOOG, Eurofins and others.

What sizes will the buildings be?

Depending on market demand, they would follow the same principles as those already in place at i54. They could vary in size anywhere from 7,500 m2 up to 100,000 m2 of floor space.
The maximum height would be no more than 12-15m.

Would buildings overshadow my property?

Any buildings erected within the development zone will be located at a suitable distance from the adjoining roadways and neighbouring properties. Part of the site will be cut into the landscape, thereby helping to shield some of the buildings from sight.

Elsewhere, as part of the design, earth-formed acoustic mounds will be employed to provide both a visual and acoustic buffer to Pendeford Hall Lane & Lawn Lane.

Will the development generate additional noise?

It is anticipated that levels of noise generated in the Western Extension will be similar to those generated on the existing i54 site because the aim is to attract similar sorts of businesses.

The project team recognises that the Western Extension will bring i54 closer to some people’s homes and a full noise impact assessment will form part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, which will be available when the planning application is made.

How will the development affect air quality for residents?

Any impact on air quality would be related to changes in the number of additional vehicles using local roads. All vehicles will be required to access via M54 Junction 2, with the bus only restriction from Wobaston Road being maintained on the southern boundary of the i54 site.

The expected level of change in vehicle movements and the likely effect on local air quality will be assessed in Environmental Impact Assessment which will be available when the planning application is made.

How sustainable will the development be?

Sustainability covers a broad range of issues.

Sustainable development fosters sustainable communities, and looks to new industrial development to contribute towards this aim, wherever possible. The industrial development will play an important part by promoting economic vitality and employment.

It is envisaged that the detailed design and layout of large paved areas will embrace engineering concepts such as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), hence the proposed inclusion of attenuation ponds on the site. Large roof expanses also offer opportunities for exploiting solar energy and rainwater harvesting for reuse.

Attention will be given to the layout and detailed design of the new industrial development to ensure that it is appropriate to its context and does not detract from the character of the area.

How are you going to protect nesting birds when development starts?

Site clearance will be undertaken in the winter, outside the nesting season. If areas still need to be cleared during the nesting season, they will be checked by a professional ecologist for nesting birds and if any are found the nests will be left undisturbed until the brood has fledged.

What is the status of Shooting Pit Wood?

Shooting Pit Wood is an area of lowland woodland containing both deciduous and evergreen trees. The ground flora includes bluebells which is a species often associated with ancient woodland. However, the original trees were cut down and replanted after the Second World War and the woodland cannot now be described as ancient.

Are great crested newts present on the site?

One great crested newt was found in 2017 during a reptile survey of the site. There are five waterbodies on site and all five will be surveyed for great crested newts during 2018. Irrespective of whether great crested newts are found on the site, two wildlife ponds will be created as part of the development.

Where will the birds nest after development?

The habitat that is being created alongside development will include scrub and hedgerow habitat which can be used by several bird species for nesting. In addition, it is hoped to install bird boxes on the buildings to provide additional bird nesting habitat.