What developments are being proposed?

There are now two sites to the south of Titchmarsh where warehouse developments are proposed.

In the summer of 2020 the Diocese of Peterborough – part of the Church of England – proposed the sale of a 10-year “development option” on 46 hectares (114 acres) of Glebe Land to IM Properties, which describes itself as “one of the UK’s largest privately-owned investor developers”. The development option does not necessarily mean that development will go ahead, but if the land is developed the diocese – which claims to have financial problems linked to the Covid pandemic – will reap some of the financial rewards.

The Glebe Land isall arable farmland, never previously developed, off Ranway (the road that links Islington to the Haldens Parkways industrial estate) and extending as far west as the A605.

After strenuous objections by both Titchmarsh’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) and the Parish Council (PC), the Diocesan Finance Board (DBF) pledged to putthe proposed sale on hold “pending a review of the environmental and social considerations”. But the DBF then ignored our objections and proceeded with the sale of the development option in the autumn of 2020. Full consultation with the parish council and PCC has been promised, but as yet we have received no further contact from IM Properties, or their agents.

In May 2021 plans for ‘300,000 sq m of B8 distribution/logistics floorspace’ on a second 71 hectare (175 acre) site, under different ownership, suddenly emerged. The second site, to the immediate east of Haldens Parkway, is about 50% bigger than the Glebe Land site. It lies mostly in the parish of Thrapston, though the northern part of it lies in Titchmarsh parish, and it would extend almost as far eastwards as The Leys (the road connecting Polopit to the A14).

The applicants’ agents, Oxalis Planning, have misleadingly described the site as “Sand And Gravel Quarry Land, Huntingdon Road, Thrapston, Northamptonshire”, although only about 25% of the site was ever used for gravel extraction; the rest is farmland previously untouched by any development. The Parish Council is referring to the land as the Castle Manor Farm site, after the farm that would be covered by the proposed development.

A letter from Oxalis Planning to the council (which can be read here) explains that 300,000 sq metres of warehousing is proposed, up to a maximum height of 24.5 metres (eighty feet) above ground level – even higher than the current warehouses at Haldens Parkway.

As for the Glebe Land site, views of a recent IM Properties development on Mercia Park (a rural site near junction 11 of the M42, in west Leicestershire) can be seen here.

This all shows just how big, and how environmentally damaging, development on either site could be.