Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange

Received 03 July 2018
From Kate Rigby


I strongly object to this application because:

1. The proposal will destroy hundreds of acres of local countryside and bring industry into an area that is an important gap between Town and country.

2. The site would be surrounded by high earth mounds (bunding) that would be themselves a “blot on the landscape”

3. The destruction of wildlife habitat in particular for farmland birds where the habitat loss cannot be compensated for.

4. The loss of farmland when the country needs to produce more food rather than importing it.

5. The destruction of the local footpath network in particular the footpath between Milton Malsor and Collingtree that would be diverted alongside the Collingtree Rd. and the M1 motorway.

6. Increased traffic through the village when there is congestion on the M1. The M1 is also about to be converted to a 'smart Motorway'. This development will impact on these works and in essence will have to be subject to further changes which will cost more money and increase congestion.

7. Increased air pollution from the thousands of extra cars, vans and HGV’s using the roads in the local area. The local road network is totally inadequate to deal with the anticipated increased volume of traffic, not only from HGVs but also from those supposed new employees (that don't live in the area) using the site on a daily (24 hour) basis.

8. The proposed no right turns at the junction of Courteenhall Rd and the A508. would mean traffic diverting through the centre of Blisworth and past the doctors surgery where parking is already a problem.

9. Noise created by the 24/7 operation of the rail terminal including railway shunting, the loading and unloading of containers and the operation of an aggregates terminal.

10. Light pollution from night time operations.The operation will create unacceptable light, air and noise pollution blighting the lives of at least two rural communities and endangering their health and well-being for everyone. 8. The cumulative adverse impact of 24/7 noise, light and air pollution will be considerable for residents of many local villages. The additional daily HGV trips each day will add to the already critical levels of nitrous oxide and particulate pollution around the M1 (an AQMA). The Northamptonshire “Parishes Against Pollution” group (29 parishes) have combined to fight this threat to residents health.

11. The area has very low unemployment so the majority of workers for the operation would have to travel some distance to work adding to congestion and pollution. The major benefit of local job creation is overplayed in an area of low unemployment and that the anticipated workforce will mostly commute from other areas further increasing the pressure on the local road networks. There will be negligible, if any, benefit to the local communities affected. Furthermore, the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) provides for a careful balance between jobs and housing. Unemployment is presently at only 1% to 2% and the JCS states that only 3 ‘strategic employment sites’ – at M1 Junction 16; Silverstone Circuit and DIRFT are needed.

12. All the local plans show this site being retained as farmland and open countryside not industrial development. There are several local footpaths and bridleways that will suffer from diversions that are both considerably less convenient but also far less attractive due to the loss of countryside views. They will also suffer from increased noise and air pollution when compared to the existing routes.

13. The site contains a number of mature trees that will take many years to replace.

14. The Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) and Rugby RFT is only a short distance away from this site, serves the same local area and has capacity for expansion for over 10 years.

15. The experience from DIRFT shows an increase in crime following the industrialisation of the area.

16. West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy (WNJCS) completed, found to be sound by PINS and formally adopted in 2014 specifically rejected a request from a developer (Ashfield Land) to include provision for a SRFI. The strategy states that new rail freight interchanges are not deliverable within the plan period and that major new industrial development should be focussed on three sites ie. Silverstone DIRFT and around the M1 junction 16. There is sufficient future capacity at DIRFT along with Midlands Gateway such that very little interchange of rail freight will take place at Northampton Gateway. If this is the case then what would differentiate the proposed site from a 'regular interchange park? The suggestion of a SRFI terminal is disingenuous paying lip service to the idea of providing Strategic National Importance simply in order to bypass local planning and make good on their investment. This is short-term thinking that ultimately costs the country in the long run. I would add that recent reports confirm a decrease in the use of Rail Freight by 20% down to 0.4% growth from predictions of 5% increase year on year.