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 22 July 2018
From John Exley


Northampton Gateway (NG) is proposed at a site only 18 miles from the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) and will serve the same markets and conurbations. It will utilise the same rail lines and road systems. DIRFT, the largest SRFI in the UK, is planned to grow until at least 2040. The proposals for NG and Rail Central (RC), together with DIRFT, represent the potential for 3 national SRFIs co-located in a single area; a situation wholly contrary to the policy intention for SRFIs.
The sheer scale of Northampton Gateway (NG) is such that it would have a very significant impact on the road network in the surrounding area. Highways England requires significant re-modelling of the M1 J15 and additional works to J15A. A Bypass is proposed for Roade together with other modifications to junctions along the A508 corridor between J15 and the A5 at Old Stratford.
It is notable that the proposal does not appear to conform to :
The legislative context, as it relates to Highways, is laid on in the National Policy Statement for National Networks (NPSNN) (Dec 2014); namely: NPS [3.2] For development (of the national road and rail networks) to be sustainable it should be designed to minimise social and environmental impacts and improve quality of life NPS [4.66] Consent should not be granted unless all steps will be taken to minimise the risk of road casualties arising from the scheme and contribute to the overall improvement of the safety of the Strategic Road Network.
A bypass would move existing and additional levels of pollution into the prevailing wind only to be blown back into a currently quiet rural area of village. This is an area that has long been associated with horse breeding, stabling and riding at a number of properties. There is a well used bridle path that would be severed by the bypass, pushing the path under the road with its attendant noise exaggeration in the tunnel. The proposed route passes very close to an historic house with the possibility of causing vibration damage. Noise and NOx would increase from lorries and cars climbing the hill from the south. The Knock Lane roundabout would require all vehicles to slow down and the speed up again, not just some as now, causing additional noise (gear changing and engine revving) and exhaust pollution. Light pollution from headlights and street lights at this point would be an added. Should additional development take place along the bypass corridor it may be necessary to reduce the proposed speed limit thus increasing pollution.

The proposed alterations to the Blisworth Rd-Courteenhall Rd junction with the A508 will ease one problem by creating another: rat-running impact through Blisworth will get worse. Traffic from J15 to Blisworth would inevitably continue onto the bypass and turn right down Knock Lane and Stoke Rd. Much of Knock Lane is approximately one metre narrower than Courteenhall Road, which many drivers would have used previously (Stop Rail Central Ltd recorded 166 cars entering Courteenhall Rd from the A508 between 8 and 9 am on Tues 12.07.16 and 270 between 5 and 6pm on Weds 13.07.16). Passing is doubly difficult at night time in such conditions.

There will be further issues with parked cars on Stoke Road in Blisworth. Some of these car owners do not have access to garages and simply have nowhere else to park. There is a pinch point on Stoke Rd near the Doctors’ surgery, a destination that attracts more, local, traffic. This proposed alternative to Courteenhall Road is unsuitable for a significant increase in traffic movements.

The above issues raise but a few concerns regarding the impact of such a development.