Latest Rail News

26.08.16

Changes promised to reduce impact of controversial freight interchange

The developers behind a proposed freight interchange in Northamptonshire have altered the plans to try to address residents’ concerns.

The Rail Central Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) will take up eight million square feet on a site where the West Coast mainline meets the Northampton Loop Line between the villages of Blisworth and Milton Malsor.

Local residents have expressed concern about the size of the development, which could effectively join the two villages together.

It could also see an increase of traffic on local roads caused by commuters and the transfer of goods from the SRFI to the A43. A campaign group, Stop Rail Central, has been founded to oppose the proposals.

However, Ashfield Land, which owns the land where the proposed development will be built, has now promised a series of changes.

These include ending plans to build on land west of the A43 and making staff and HGV drivers use the A43 instead of Northampton Road to access the site.

In addition, it will provide more detailed landscaping designed to screen the site and better defined public rights of way and footpaths.

Roxhill, another development company, is also reportedly proposing building a second six million square feet SRFI next to the Rail Central site.

In a statement, Milton Malsor Parish Council said: “If this new proposal and Rail Central were to both be given approval, we would end up with 14 million square feet of warehousing and two rail freight depots which together would probably constitute the largest logistics park in Europe.  Is it likely we’d end up with two Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges adjacent to one another?  If only one can feasibly be granted consent which one would it be?  Would it be first come first served? 

“This situation is unprecedented. Milton Malsor Parish Council and Stop Rail Central are liaising with various parties to find out more.

“Both Milton Malsor Parish Council and Stop Rail Central’s stance is that this area is the wrong place for a Rail Freight Interchange.”

Ashfield Land has released new illustrative plans to local residents as part of a consultation into the proposals, which is open until 30 September. It will then hold a second round of the consultation next year.

To respond to the consultation, click here.

The latest edition of RTM, out now, features an article by Elizabeth Dunn and Stephen Humphreys of Burges Salmon on the challenges facing SRFIs.

Proposals for another rail freight hub in Staffordshire, to be built by Four Ashes, are currently open to consultation.

(Image c. Network Rail)

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