A planning application has been submitted to build three additional large warehouses to the east of the Dartford Crossing at the Thames Europort site.
It follows Amazon opening a vast warehouse to the west in recent weeks, and Ikea confirming a distribution depot next door. A third unit at that site has yet to be let.
All units will add to traffic pressure in the area. Last months National Highways (now rebranded from Highways England) stated the Dartford crossing has been reaching record highs for goods vehicle crossings.
The Thames Europort site has been used for vehicle storage over the past two decades.
Boats would dock on the Thames and unload. The new development does not utilise the river to assist with road congestion.
The plan states: “Redevelopment will see a change of use from Port related activities to land-based B8 Distribution.”
The new plan sees 315,830 square feet of space for warehouses.
The transport study uses Asda warehouse movements to model future movements at three warehouses, though food distribution could differ quite substantially from occupants of the three units.
Another statement claims little impact on roads: “It can be seen that a switch from Port to B8 activities will then have little impact in terms of assignments, since traffic to and from both basically wants to use the same road in similar proportions. No further consideration of assignment is thus required.”
That is then justified to pay no Section 106 income to mitigate the effects: “Fundamentally, there is no requirement for Goodman to fund any off-site road improvements through the Section 106 Agreement”.
Change of use
With a port an empty HGV could generally arrive to collect vehicles delivered by ship then depart with vehicles.
With change of use, HGVs or vans could arrive to deliver, then leave empty while another leaves empty and arrives to carry goods.
Ultimately the question is that while the Dartford area and Dartford Crossing head beyond road design capacity and daily congestion occurres across the day, is ditching river-based distribution for yet more road-based distribution really what should be happening?