Mercedes could face some backlash to their plans to grow their Brackley base with local residents reportedly unhappy at the knock-on effect it will have on the area.
According to local newspaper the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, residents are “up in arms” about the plans which they say will bring high levels of traffic in the area.
Mercedes are planning to build a three-storey marketing building, a health and well-being building and an extension to the main headquarters.
Mercedes face local complaints over HQ expansion plans
The main issue appears to be the impact these plans will have on St James Road which is the next road down from Lauda Drive which leads to Mercedes’ factory.
The Silver Arrows want to use that road as a new access point for their staff but the current residents are concerned about the traffic it will bring.
Simon Wheeler, managing director of specialist foot health supplier Canonbury Products Ltd who operate a warehouse on that road said “not a single business” was made aware of the planning application.
“Everyone is up in arms about the idea of this happening because at the moment we all have fairly unfettered access into this premises which means we have no issues getting staff or commercial vehicles in,” he told the newspaper.
“If you’ve got several hundred cars first thing in the morning and last thing at night trying to enter and exit the site it’s going to cause absolute pandemonium. Our customers, our suppliers, or our employees all of a sudden could be having to leave home earlier to avoid getting caught up in everyone else’s traffic.
“There’s no interest in looking after the smaller businesses – it’s a case of we’re Mercedes, we’ll do what we want and you just have to get on with it. That’s just grossly disrespectful for businesses that have been here for a similar length of time as them.”
However, a spokesperson for Mercedes told the Chronicle that all planning procedures had been followed.
The spokesperson said: “During the planning application process, we have gone through all appropriate channels including consultation with the Planning Department, which includes a period of public consultation.
“In addition, we have had lengthy consultation with both the Local Highways Department and the National Highways Agency who have audited and verified our independent traffic surveys. We have also consulted with local Emergency Services and agreed a plan of road enhancements to ensure easy egress if required in an emergency from St James Road.
“The concerns raised by the specialist highways consultant employed by one of the local businesses have been reviewed to ensure that the proposed works have the least possible impact on the business. This approach has been agreed with the local Highways team.
“In addition to this we will be enhancing the local footpaths and cycle paths around our site entrance, adding a new pedestrian crossing to the Oxford Road and undertaking works to the roads to aid traffic flows.
“As a major employer in Brackley, we always endeavour to maintain good relations and dialogue with our stakeholders and to maximise our positive impact in the local area. We will continue to do so as we progress through this process.”
Mercedes will also create an additional 659 parking spaces and more permanent parking next to Brackley Town Football Club. Two empty homes will be demolished for this.
But despite the residents’ complaints, staff will only be allowed to use St James Road between 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm.