COUNCILLORS have been urged to stop ‘pandering’ to big business after a 24-hour HGV car park was approved at Solihull’s Land Rover plant.
Coun Simon Slater last week asked members of the planning committee not to make a decision to grant permission purely because the Lode Lane factory provided a lot of jobs locally.
“I worry that whenever JLR bring anything to this committee... we pander to them just because they provide a lot of jobs,” said Coun Slater (Lab, Shirley West)
Coun Martin Hewings, (Lib Dem, Elmdon) added: “Everyone respects the importance of JLR to the prosperity of Solihull and nationally but there are consequences to the local community.
“I understand the need for this HGV car park but does it have to be so near to the houses?”
Eight objections were raised by residents of the nearby Leafield Road, with concerns over noise, light and air pollution from the car park which will receive ten lorries an hour, 24 hours a day.
Coun Alan Martin (Con, Bickenhill) said he had ‘serious reservations’ and asked fellow committee members to consider the plan’s conditions very carefully before approval.
“Think of the people in Leafield a little bit,” he added. “JLR have put these vehicles closer to houses that anywhere else in the whole of the site.
“We’re talking about heavy goods vehicles, with noise and movement 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s a lot for people to put up with.”
However, fellow Bickenhill councillor Jim Ryan disagreed, claiming approval would mean more regulations over parking and many living nearby already benefited from the company.
“Land Rover is one of the biggest employers in the area,” he added. “I’m sure a lot of people living nearby know people working for it.”
The plans were passed with the additional condition that vehicles should have their reverse warning sirens disabled.