Rail franchises operators & contracts

23.10.18

Planning Inspectorate reject plans for giant rail freight interchange in Northamptonshire

Plans for a massive strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) in Northamptonshire has been rejected by the government’s Planning Inspectorate (PINS) because of “inconsistencies” in the proposals.

The 600-acre proposal, submitted by Ashfield Land Management and Gazeley, would see a large rail depot built in a strategic location where the West Coast Main Line meets the Northampton Loop Line.

But PINS rejected the application in a letter issued on behalf of the secretary of state for the ministry of housing, communities and local government for being “insufficiently clear.”

Responding to the application for an order granting development consent, PINS’s caseworker Simone Wilding said: “It was not of a standard the secretary of state considers satisfactory.”

The letter said: “The inconsistencies between certain documents and plans, conflicting internal references between and within documents and some inconsistencies between the hard and electronic copy submitted make the application insufficiently clear.”

The proposals for the “next-generation” SRFI were submitted last month, with the project defined as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.’

The proposals have proved controversial with residents in the area complaining that the freight interchange, which will take up to eight million sqft, will have a big impact on the Northamptonshire countryside.

The letter rejecting the application added: “Should the applicant choose to re-submit, they are advised to ensure that all documents are submitted both electronically and in hard copy, that they are identical, and that the correct information is included in the appendices for each relevant document.”

Ashfield Land has said it will be considering the points raised by PINS and resubmitting their application as soon as possible.

The rail hub would be responsible for both traditional container freight and for handling an emerging demand for ‘fast freight’ linked to the growth of online next day delivery.

Ashfield Land said it would create up to 8,000 new jobs and channel long-term investment into south Northamptonshire.

The proposed site would be located between the villages of Blisworth and Milton Malsor, adjacent to the A43 and within two miles of Junction 15A of the M1.

Further documents related to PINS’s decision will published later this week.

 

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