Council backs 'super-LDO' for London Gateway site

An Essex council has agreed what it claims is the country's largest local development order (LDO) to support the growth of a new London Gateway port and logistics park.

London Gateway: logistics park will support new port
London Gateway: logistics park will support new port
Thurrock Council’s LDO, approved at an extraordinary council meeting yesterday, would include 829,000 square metres of floorspace. It covers land directly next to DP World’s new six-berth port for ultra-large container ships, on the site of the former Shell Haven refinery, which the developer expects to become Europe’s largest logistics park.

London Gateway's first berth is due to become active by the end of this year.

THE LDO offers DP World and their potential tenants a fast-tracked planning process for specified use classes, with developers entitled to submit prior notification forms for their proposed developments and receive a decision within 28 days.

According to the council, the LDO permits the development of facilities for general industry, storage and distribution, research and development, light industry and ancillary uses.

The port and logistics park received outline planning consent in 2007, and Thurrock said the LDO covered essentially the same area as the earlier consent but omitted a hotel and leisure development that it said DP World had "no intention" of developing.

Thurrock said the port would be capable of handling up to 7,000 HGV movements a year, which would require infrastructure improvements including the widening of part of the A13. A combined LDO and port Section 106 Agreement totalling £10.3 million would contribute to the work, the council said.

David Bull, Thurrock’s director of planning and transportation, said the new port and logistics park were vital developments that would boost economic growth across the region and nationally, and that the LDO would make its development less "unwieldy and cumbersome" compared with the regular planning route.

"The LDO provides certainty to developers and the businesses that want to take advantage of the park’s location near London and a skilled and willing local workforce," he said.

Thurrock said retailer Marks & Spencer had already committed to building a distribution centre that would create 700 jobs at the site, while a £12 million national skills academy for ports and logistics was also proposed.

The LDO, made under Section 40 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, now requires approval from communities secretary Eric Pickles.

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