Scotch Corner industrial estate approved despite ‘diabolical’ congestion concerns

The location of the proposed development.

A plan to create an industrial estate beside one of the North’s most congested motorway junctions has been approved despite concerns it would exacerbate traffic issues.

During a lengthy debate to consider Marshall Leisure Scotch Corner Caravan Park’s proposal to create 37 storage and distribution units measuring a combined 107,640sq ft 300m from Scotch Corner roundabout no councillor spoke of any merit in the scheme before just three elected members voted to approve it.

A meeting of North Yorkshire Council’s Richmond constituency committee heard officers warn defending a decision to refuse the scheme off junction 53 of the A1(M) with the A66 over traffic concerns would be difficult given the authority’s roads and High England’s lack of objections.

However, the meeting was told North Yorkshire Council was set to investigate the collective impact of submitted development proposals for Scotch Corner as well as “lots of other things that will be coming in front of members in the future”.

An agent for the developer said the caravan park on the proposed site was no longer seen as a viable business due to the creation of Scotch Corner Designer Village beside it.

He said the industrial estate would be attractive to local businesses in giving them “unrivalled access to the strategic highway network”.

The meeting heard alongside the proposed industrial estate at Scotch Corner there were approved plans for the designer village, which it is hoped will attract 12,000 visitors a day, and the UK’s largest home and garden centre, which will have more than 600 parking spaces.

Councillors were told proposals had also been lodged for sites at Scotch Corner to extend the designer village, for two drive-thru restaurants, for a film and radio studio production complex, for a manufacturing facility as well as a scheme for a fast food restaurant and a industrial facility.

The meeting heard developers had also lodged a scoping study for a one million square feet Amazon warehouse with 130 docking bays for trucks and 635 employee parking spaces.

In addition, councillors were told the upgrading of the A66 would increase traffic at Scotch Corner by 35 per cent and due to high employment rates in the area staff on the industrial estate would need to drive there from places such as Darlington.

The meeting heard Highways England had forecast traffic movements at Scotch Corner would be treble what the applicants had suggested, but had concluded the development would not cause a “severe impact” on traffic.

Nevertheless, the meeting heard the daily “gridlock” at Scotch Corner was a major and escalating problem, and was so severe motorists regularly drove on pavements to “beat the traffic”.

Several councillors poured scorn on suggestions that Highways England would start upgrading Scotch Corner roads within 18 months and complete works by 2029.

Councillor Stephen Watson said: “We’ve been hearing about a dualling of the A66 from one end to the other since the mid-Sixties. It’s still never happened.”

Elected members also questioned the accountability of the government-owned company responsible for A-roads and branded the data on which it used to estimate traffic volumes as “shakey”.

Middleton Tyas resident Steve Hill said concerns were mounting among villagers over the “plethora” of proposed developments in a piecemeal fashion, and called for a public inquiry.

Ward member Councillor Angus Thompson said: “The M25 has often been dubbed the world’s largest car park and if we’re not careful Scotch Corner will become North Yorkshire’s largest car park.

“Until and if, and I say if, the road infrastructure can be put right this application should be rejected as it will only make a diabolical situation worse.”

2 Comments

  1. After a twenty minute delay attempting to negotiate Scotch Corner I wrote to Highways England suggesting box junction markings. Traffic was unable to leave the roundabout due to gridlock caused by traffic entering.I still have not received a reply.

  2. Having just moved from the congested over populated South, no way is Scotch Corner ‘congested’ by comparison!

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