Hauliers query planl for break bulk complex
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London ban on trucks fear as new scheme gets go-ahead
NEASDEN is likely to become the site of the first of a series of 10 break bulk complexes in London—despite reservations on the scheme from the hauliers' organisations.
The new complex would be built on the North Circular road close to the existing Neasden rail depot with a link road giving easy access to the North Circular.
But this week the Freight Transport Association expressed "considerable reservations" about the scheme and said that it would be totally opposed to any form of pressure on hauliers to use the site.
"We can see environmental problems developing with the Neasden site," said an FTA spokesman, "and we can see pressure being used if the place was open and few people were using it."
The Road Haulage Association joined in with a comment that it did not think the complexes would be successful. "They will be very expensive and would add to the costs of the haulier.
"This could be the first step towards a total ban on trucks in London," said a spokesman. "I think it will be found that they are impracticable," he added.
Brent Borough Council, in whose area the Neasden complex would be, might welcome the scheme as it would allow them to have link roads at Wembley Stadium which would also relieve congestion as well as help the trucks.
Until now the roads have not been thought necessary because traffic flows have not been high enough to justify them, but with increased heavy vehicle traffic using the depot it is now thought that the roads would be viable.
A GLC report to a joint meeting of its planning and transport committees last week said that the Neasden complex could give employment to 1,000 people on the 60,000sqm -(650,000sqft) site.
Special sidings would be built to allow freight to be transferred from rail to road and vice versa allowing the complex to act as a grouping site for freight leaving London as well as a break bulk complex.
FTA objections on environmental grounds were answered by the GLC report which said that they expected to have to use careful landscaping to present an interesting road frontage and to use a wide range of colours on the buildings.
The report recognises that there will be problems with the land which is at present owned by British Rail, considering building a depot for the storage of imported cars on the site.
But questions of land must be tied up with questions of where the money is to come from to build the multi-million pound complex—and those that could follow it.
It is recognised by the GLC that it must attract a developer for the complex and it admits: "It is not clear at present whether the proposals would attract developers to take over the complete concept as a package deal."
A number of ways have been looked at ranging from the GLC acquiring the site, the commissioning of a developer to do the work to a scheme involving the developer taking complete charge of the job.
But either way it will be a long job if GLC cash is to be involved.
The report suggests that if council cash is to be used then the whole project may well have to wait until the 1980s.
Next step for the GLC, if the scheme is to carry on, is to hold discussions with the Brent Borough Council and British Rail.
The GLC's transport committee complained bitterly at its meeting last week that it was inundated with paper—but it can expect another weighty report on the future of the complex before the summer recess—and by that time it may have proposals for London's first break-bulk terminal.
Other sites besides Neasden are still being considered including Brentford Market, a much smaller site near A4/M4 and a "low standard" section of the North Circular.
An unnamed site with the possibility of river wharfage is also being looked at.
But with all the cautious optimism in the GLC report the council's treasurer has the last word—and it is a word of warning that the commercial viability needs to be more closely assessed.