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A shed the size of a town:​ what Britain’s giant distribution centres​ tell​ us about modern life (The Guardian)

April 16, 2018

  • These boxes are of such importance that some are classed as “nationally significant infrastructure projects”, which means that national government rather than local authorities give them planning permission.

  • But, in a country where land is as constrained as in Britain, where it is a struggle to find space for other such essentials as new housing, the growth of big sheds is particularly hard to accommodate.

  • If it is a fast-moving business, wherein a building 10 times the volume of St Paul’s Cathedral might go up in six months, it might take a decade to assemble a site out of former farmland, and win planning permission for it.

  • In Lutterworth there is a campaign group called Magna Park Is Big Enough, which in January persuaded the local council to refuse, by a margin of two votes, a planned expansion.

  • There is, therefore, a motivation to “innovate in a mindful and respectful way”.

  • A “new breed of superstructures trying very hard to disappear”. Off the M5, for example, near Bridgwater in Somerset, a huge Morrisons distribution centre is clad in long horizontal strips of varying shades of green.

  • Their scale and growth are a consequence of the fact that all that physicality and volume that the virtual world displaces has to go somewhere.










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