Ocado’s plans to redevelop Superdrug’s former headquarters in Beddington Lane have been quashed by councillors – but only just – after a close vote last night.

It was revealed that they wanted to build a new storage and distribution centre at a council meeting on September 5.

But the decision came down to the wire, with five votes in support and five against, as planning committee chair Cllr Kevin Burke had the final say.

Proposals aimed to build a huge new industrial unit to provide nearly 2,150sqm for “flexible employment purposes”.

MORE: Plans for old Superdrug HQ in Beddington Lane to be discussed

The new centre would operate 24 hours a day and staff working “staggered” shift patterns – early workers beginning at 6am and night workers finishing around 11pm.

Michael Sparks director Paul Wahba, who represented the site’s owners Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “This development will bring investment to Sutton from success in growing British business, with potential further investment into bus provision to benefit the wider Beddington area.

“This employment site will be kept in use for employment purposes to support 200 jobs, created by Ocado in Sutton.

“The proposed parking and yard areas are needed to accommodate the number of people that will be employed by Ocado.

“Without proposed parking areas, Ocado would not be able to support such a high level job creation at the site.

“We understand that there may be concerns if Ocado vacate the unit in the future but the commercial reality is that Ocado have a requirement for a new unit at this location now.

“The opportunity to secure the number of proposed jobs would be lost if permission isn't granted.”

Sutton Guardian:

Building at the former Superdrug base before it was knocked down

Despite promise of 200 new jobs, it was admitted no pre-planning advice was sought from the council – a move which was met with surprise.

Beddington North ward Cllr Jillian Green, one of the three speakers during the discussion, demanded proposals were done “properly”.

She said: “The residents are fed up with the roadworks, they're fed up with the heavy lorries, and now we've got more traffic being put upon us.

“I see they're promising 200 jobs. Well in my experience in business, and it is very wide, those jobs will not go to local people. They will be going to people from outside the borough because that is what normally happens.

“They're saying they're going to save 3,000 trips to the supermarket. Well that's lovely, but Asda actually pay this council £1.1 million in business rates and, if people stop shopping at Asda, the council will lose that money.

“I understand, and the residents of Beddington Lane understand, it's an industrial hotspot but what they want is consideration. If you want to put something there, fine, but do it properly.”

Pros and cons were weighed up as it was considered during the debate, which lasted over half an hour, whether to go against the recommendation to refuse the plans.

While the promise of 200 jobs was a considerable positive, fears were raised over pollution and potentially increased traffic problems in Beddington Lane.

There were additional concerns that granting permission would set a precedent for future developments that would be difficult to overturn.

But ultimately the decision was to reject the plans after lengthy debate.

It’s currently unknown whether a second application will be submitted with Ocado in mind.