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Neighbours fear new distribution centre will clog up Kentish Town backstreets

Socially-distanced demo outside site

24 January, 2021 — By Dan Carrier

Objectors outside the site this week

HEAVY lorries could clog up quiet Kentish Town back streets as they drive to and from a 24-hour new delivery hub, warned neighbours – who this week staged a socially-distanced demonstration.

Warehouse property giant Segro, whose clients include Royal Mail, John Lewis and Camden Town Brewery, have applied for permission to use a former taxi garage in Spring Place as a distribution centre.

If the plans are passed, it could mean scores of lorries delivering products to the site – and then vans loading up to take them on to homes and businesses.

Taxi firm Addison Lee left the building four years ago and Segro bought the site from an investment fund, Brockton Capital, last year. Brockton had won planning permission to build a new six storey homes and offices development but decided against starting the build due to fears over profitability.

The Inkerman Area Residents Association said that if Segro are given the green light, it would spell misery for neighbours and increase levels of pollution near schools.

Debby Hyams, its chair, said: “It is hard to imagine a worse site for a delivery depot. It is on a narrow, largely residential street, already heavily parked with vans, and only accessible via a dangerous corner by a nursery and a tricky junction right by a school.”

The planned access routes go past other schools and nurseries, through a busy market and on routes heavily used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Trisha Montague, who lives in nearby Ryland Road, said: “The blockages before the recent Covid lockdown were already bad. When everyone starts using the roads again, it will become unbearable for residents and potentially disastrous for all road users in terms of waiting time, with a negative impact on emergency vehicles and air quality.”

The residents’ association says a new development on the horizon in nearby Regis Road would offer a better site for a purpose-built facility.

But in its application for planning consent, Segro says an overhaul of Regis Road will lead to better access to Spring Place.

It added: “The area has a significant industrial and commercial presence, and it is considered that the creation of industrial uses in this location is acceptable.”

The company said that the Town Hall’s planning framework for NW5 recommends a “freight consolidation centre” is needed.

They would prioritise “clean” vehicles and bike couriers, Segro added, and say that traffic could fall compared to the number of car journeys that were made to the taxi garage.

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