Rail Central (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange)

The list below includes a record of advice we have provided for this project. For a list of all advice issued by the Planning Inspectorate, including non-project related advice, please go to the Register of advice page.

There is a statutory duty, under section 51 of the Planning Act 2008, to record the advice that is given in relation to an application or a potential application, including the name of the person who requested the advice, and to make this publicly available.

Preview
Enquiry received via email
Enquiry from Mark Redding by email on 15 November 2018:

Thank you Robert. When I phoned PINs last with a query I was told that there would be another 28 day period to assess whether or not to accept the revised application. 28 days has not passed. Could you please advise why it has been accepted in less than 28 days? Was I given incorrect information?
Advice given by email on 15 November 2018:

Dear Mr Redding,

No, your information was correct. We have a maximum of 28 days to consider whether or not to accept an application. On this occasion, it did not take the full 28 days; we had already seen much of the documentation, from the first application.

If you would like to discuss the process going forward, please do not hesitate to contact me.

15 November 2018
Stop Rail Central Ltd - Mark Redding
Enquiry received via email
Enquiry from Mark Redding by email on 14 November 2018:

Dear Sirs,

As you know the Rail Central application has been resubmitted and on the current timelines the registration period has the potential to clash with the Christmas holiday period. I would therefore ask whether it is possible to delay that registration period until the new year to give all those who wish to participate a fair chance to do so. December is a time when people are away or their minds are on other things. The Christmas of 2016 was completely ruined by the arrival of Rail Central on our radar so I would ask that we are at least given 2018 in relative peace before we have to recommence our fight in earnest.
Advice given by email on 15 November 2018:

Dear Mr Redding,

Thank you for your email. We do not control when the registration period begins or ends.

The applicant is required to publicise the acceptance of their application and set a deadline for registration. I suggest you contact them urgently, and make your request directly to them.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

15 November 2018
Stop Rail Central Ltd - Mark Redding
Enquiry received via phone
response has attachments
A series of telephone calls took place on 16 to 19 October 2018 in order for the Planning Inspectorate to set out some concerns identified with the application, and in order to give the applicant the opportunity to direct the Inspectorate within the application to documents which may address the concerns.
The Planning Inspectorate highlighted some inconsistencies between certain documents and plans, conflicting internal references between and within documents and some inconsistencies between the hard and electronic copy of the submitted application in regard to the following documents:
- Works plans
- Draft DCO
- Environmental Statement
- Parameters plan
Please see the letter confirming that the application was not accepted:
[attachment 1]

16 October 2018
Ashfield Land Management Limited and Gazeley GLP N - anon.
Enquiry received via email
I enclose a copy of a meeting note from a project update meeting between the Planning Inspectorate and Ashfield Land, regarding their ongoing proposal for the Rail Central strategic rail freight interchange in my South Northamptonshire constituency
As you will note:

The Inspectorate advised that it would be helpful to see NR’s response to the Applicant’s statutory consultation (which ended on 23/04/18) and enquired whether NR had commented on the rail network’s capacity to accommodate both SRFI proposals. Whilst the Applicant confirmed that it had not, it was satisfied that its own negotiations with NR were progressing well. The Applicant explained that extensive engagement has taken place with Network Rail through their GRIP process over the last 5 years, involving a designated sponsor supported by a NR project team comprising of in-house and outsourced technical specialists. This engagement with NR has informed the design and rail infrastructure and main line connections and the completed work undertaken at GRIP stage 2 has validated the technical and operational feasibility of the proposals. A Statement of Common Ground is at an advanced stage of drafting in order that this can be included within the DCO application.
The Inspectorate noted that two Examinations running simultaneously was likely to put some strain on NR’s resources. The Inspectorate requested that the Applicant provide the contact details for NR in order for the Inspectorate to have an unbiased discussion with NR about the two schemes. The Inspectorate also noted that the examination of both schemes would involve the same Local Authorities (LAs) and other stakeholders and highlighted that the examination of just one proposal can put a strain on the resources of these persons/organisations.

Can I ask for your comments on the above points, particularly whether you have received the information requested from Ashfield Land, and if PINS is satisfied that the rail network could accommodate both SRFI proposals.
Thank you for your letter received on 29 August 2018 regarding the above proposal and the Planning Inspectorate’s meeting with Ashfield Land Management Limited and Gazeley GLP Northampton (the Developer) on 25 May 2018.
In your letter you asked if the Planning Inspectorate is satisfied that the rail network could accommodate both the Rail Central and Northampton Gateway SRFI proposals. This is a matter which is likely to be raised and considered during the examination stages of the Planning Act 2008 process for each of the proposals.
It will be for the relevant appointed Examining Authorities to examine the applications to which they are (or will be) appointed, and to make their recommendations on the decisions to the Secretary of State for Transport. It is then ultimately for the Secretary of State to decide whether development consent can be granted for each scheme.
As you will be aware, the Northampton Gateway SRFI application was submitted by Roxhill (Junction 15) Limited in May 2018; the Examining Authority has been appointed and the examination will commence following the Preliminary Meeting which is due to take place on 9 October 2018. We are expecting to receive the application for the Rail Central SRFI proposal in mid-September 2018.
I can confirm that the Rail Central Developer provided us with the contact details for the relevant Network Rail sponsor and we held a telecon meeting with Network Rail on 11 September 2018 to discuss the Planning Act 2008 process. The Developer answered our question in relation to Network Rail’s consultation response during the meeting on 25 May 2018, and following the meeting they provided us with the link to South Northamptonshire Council’s Officer Report in response to the Rail Central pre-application consultation, which is available on the Council’s website.
I hope you find this information to be helpful.

12 September 2018
The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP
In a planning meeting with the Developer on the 25th May the Inspectorate stated the following:
'The Inspectorate noted that two Examinations running simultaneously was likely to put some strain on NR’s resources. The Inspectorate requested that the Applicant provide the contact details for NR in order for the Inspectorate to have an unbiased discussion with NR about the two schemes. The Inspectorate also noted that the examination of both schemes would involve the same Local Authorities (LAs) and other stakeholders and highlighted that the examination of just one proposal can put a strain on the resources of these persons/organisations.'
In July I formally asked whether or not this had been done but had no reply. On the 28th August I followed up on the phone to be told that this conversation had not taken place (and would most likely not). Would it be possible to publish this query on the web site and then provide the reason as to why it has not when it was specifically requested by yourselves.
This is not a side issue, it is absolutely critical for the whole of the area and local community so I am disappointed that nothing further has happened. I am beginning to wonder at what stage this absolutely critical issue will be addressed. Nobody seems willing to adopt a pro-active approach.
As you may now be aware, the Rail Central Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) application is due to be submitted in mid-September 2018. As a result, the level of overlap of the examination stages for both projects (if the Rail Central application is accepted for examination) will be less than initially anticipated, however we note that an overlap towards the latter part of the Northampton Gateway SRFI examination and the start of the Rail Central SRFI examination is still likely.
Whilst it is ultimately for the relevant appointed Examining Authority to determine how to examine each application, there are opportunities for you to have your say on the examination process at the Preliminary Meetings for each project. In addition, as the Northampton Gateway SRFI examination timetable will be finalised by the point at which the Rail Central SRFI draft examination timetable will be produced, efforts will be made to avoid deadline and hearing date clashes where possible.
We held a telecon meeting with Network Rail today to discuss the Planning Act 2008 process, a meeting note will be published on our website in due course.
In regard to the information we publish on our website, The Planning Inspectorate is required to publish advice it provides under section 51 of the Planning Act 2008 which relates to:
- applying for an order granting development consent; or
- making representations about an application, or a proposed application, for such an order.
I hope you find the above information to be helpful.

11 September 2018
Mark Redding
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Planning Act 2008 process meeting with Network Rail
Please see attached

11 September 2018
Network Rail - anon.
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update meeting
Please see attached

10 August 2018
Womble Bond Dickinson Osborne Clarke - anon.
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update meeting
See attachment.

25 May 2018
Ashfield Land - anon.
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Local residents have asked if they might be able to meet with PINS (presumably you as Case Officer) to discuss the process, and in particular the cumulative impact of both proposals, and how that is taken into account. They very much are aware that it would be inappropriate to comment on the merits of either proposal, but they are wanting to understand how the application are approached, and at what point do cumulative impact assessments become required? Let me know if a meeting would be something PINS could do, as I know it would reassure residents to understand more fully. I presume that you may have had similar meetings with representatives from the developers on points of process?
We note in your correspondence, your request for the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) to meet with local residents to discuss matters of process regarding the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) and in particular to advise on cumulative impact assessments for both proposals. As you have stated in your email, we have met with both Applicants for the above proposals in our Bristol office. In addition, we have also met with the Stop Rail Central group. We have provided written advice to a large number of parties regarding these schemes and a record of the advice can be found on the project specific pages of our website under the section (s)51 advice tab.

Rail Central Proposal:
[attachment 1]

Northampton Gateway Proposal:
[attachment 2]

Whilst we have held meetings with the public to explain the NSIP planning process in certain instances for other proposals, we have now provided the same information in videos as part of the advice readily available on our website.

We therefore feel that the information below will sufficiently cover the advice we could provide in person and we would be grateful if you could please send this to the relevant people.

In order for members of the public to be involved in the examination of a project they must, at the appropriate time, register to become an interested party. This video provides information on how and when to register as an interested party on an application:

[attachment 3]

We would however like to take this opportunity to respond to your queries directly and provide you with links which we trust you will find useful.

If a proposed NSIP requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be submitted as part of the application, the EIA Regulations necessitates that the Applicant undertakes an assessment of cumulative effects (amongst other matters), and considers alternatives to the proposed development. This process begins at the pre-application stage. The assessment of cumulative effects would take into account other reasonably foreseeable schemes including any other relevant NSIPs. Both developers have confirmed that their application is EIA development and therefore an Environmental Statement (including information on cumulative impacts) will need to be submitted as part of their application.

It would be for the Applicant for each scheme to make the case for, and to assess the impacts of, their proposed development taking into consideration the cumulative effects of the relevant built, consented and/or proposed developments as appropriate at the time of their application being lodged. Each application would be assessed on their individual merits, where the appointed Examining Authority (ExA) would assess the material and/or information submitted by the Applicant within their application documents submitted, including subsequent submissions where for example, more information becomes available on a separate proposal included in the assessment. ).

Both Applicants, namely Roxhill Developments Limited (Northampton Gateway) and Ashfield Land Management and Gazeley GLP Northampton (Rail Central), have confirmed that they are undertaking a cumulative assessment to include the appropriate matters of the other proposal. You may have also noted that the Northampton Gateway proposal was recently submitted and PINS on behalf of the Secretary of State has until 18 June 2018 to decide whether to Accept this application for Examination.

We would encourage you to review the published meeting notes (under the s51 advice tab) for both projects (Northampton Gateway RFI and Rail Central SRFI) to have sight of discussions held between PINS and the relevant Applicant regarding their respective proposals. It is reasonable to assume that consideration by both Applicants regarding each other’s proposal and their cumulative effects will be a matter for consideration during the examination.

Useful Links

Advice Note (AN)17 provides a brief description of the legal context and obligations placed on an Applicant in respect of cumulative effects.

[attachment 4]

The AN8 series (AN8.1 to AN8.5) provides more detailed advice on the application process and aims to take you step by step through the planning process for NSIPs.

Advice Note Eight: Overview of the nationally significant infrastructure planning process for members of the public and others
Advice Note 8.1: Responding to the developer’s pre-application consultation
Advice Note 8.2: How to register to participate in an Examination
Advice Note 8.3: Influencing how an application is Examined: the Preliminary Meeting
Advice Note 8.4: The Examination
Advice Note 8.5: The Examination: hearings and site inspections

We would encourage you to please circulate the advice provided hereto to any and/or all local residents with an interest in the abovementioned proposals, specifically drawing their attention to the video and Advice Notes recommended above as well as those published to the National Infrastructure website:

[attachment 5]

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the relevant case teams via the email addresses provided below:

Rail Central proposal - [email protected]
Northampton Gateway proposal - [email protected]

24 May 2018
Tommy Gilchrist
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
I wish to be enlisted as an interested party in this proposal by Ashfield Land Ltd and Gazeley GLP. Will you be able to notify me when you are ready?

I can certainly provide a summary of less than 500 words as my particular interest happens to be quite narrow. I am preparing a detailed deposition which amounts to an objection in total of the proposal. It will be rather numerical in nature and needs to include Tabulated Data in a few Tables embedded in a text of 2000 to 2500 words
(5 or 6 A4 pages in PDF format). I trust that the deposition can readily be assessed by people who have a degree in engineering, in fairness to my analysis, which is technical. Do you foresee any problems with what I plan. Due to travel problems I will have to let the deposition speak for itself - I will not be able to attend any formal proceedings.
This proposed development is currently in the Pre-Application stage of the planning process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). At this stage, the developer will be preparing their application documents for submission, as well as consulting with the local community on their proposals. We would advise you to contact the Applicant directly with your views in order for them to take this into consideration prior to their application documents being finalised for submission, below is the Applicants contact details:

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0845 543 8967 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm (calls are charged at local rates)
Post: FREEPOST Rail Central
Website: www.railcentral.com

Once the application has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (the Inspectorate), we have a statutory 28 day period (known as Acceptance stage) to determine whether to Accept the application for Examination. At the Acceptance stage the Inspectorate will undertake the s55 Acceptance (‘Checklist’) to determine whether the Applicant has complied with the statutory consultation duties and other statutory duties during their pre-application stage.
If the application for development consent for this project is formally accepted by the Secretary of State there will be a period where individuals and organisations can register as Interested Parties (IPs) by submitting a Relevant Representation form via the project page of our website (or requesting hard copies thereof) to express your views in relation to the project which will be considered by the Examining Authority (ExA) during the examination. If the application is accepted you will receive a notification letter (s56 notification) via the Applicant, confirming the opening and closing date of the Relevant Representation period to register as an IP.

At this stage as per your correspondence, you are correct that a summary outline of your concern/objection should be registered via the submission of a Relevant Representation form, which should contain approximately 500 words.

We would recommend that you visit our project page for Rail Central SRFI as you could sign up for email updates to be kept informed on project progress, once the application is formally submitted.

Upon closure of the Relevant Representation period, the appointed ExA will invite all IPs to the Preliminary Meeting via a Rule 6 letter. We note in your correspondence that you may be unable to attend future hearings for this event, however as the process is intended to be predominantly a written process, we would encourage you upon receipt of the Rule 6 letter to review the Examination timetable, which will detail deadline submission dates (including date by which Written Representation should be received), reserved dates for Issue Specific Hearings, Compulsory Acquisition Hearings, Open Floor Hearings etc. of which of particular interest to you, would be the date by which Written Representations should be received (as depicted in the Exam Timetable), this would be the date by which your detailed objections should be submitted into the examination. This submission could include tabulated data, images, tables etc to further elaborate on your initial objection made within your relevant representation.

We would however remind you that during the Examination, the appointed ExA may invite you to hearings reserved in the Examination to seek clarification on submissions submitted or seek further clarification from you in writing regarding any submission you may make. At any point during the Examination other IPs, including the Applicant may make comments to your Relevant Representation and/or Written Representation and therefore we would encourage you where possible to have an active involvement in the Examination, should further responses/clarification be needed.

The Inspectorate has published a series of advice notes on the National
Infrastructure planning website which explain the examination process, including information on how to get involved and we would recommend you review the advice notes listed below:
Advice Note 8: Overview of the nationally significant infrastructure process for members of the public and others;
Advice Note 8.1: Responding to the developer’s pre-application consultation; and
Advice Note 8.2: How to register to participate in an Examination.

Our full suite of advice and legislation relating to NSIPs can be found on our website [attachment 1] or you can review our FAQ page, which provides further information on the NSIP process.

06 April 2018
Anthony Marsh
Enquiry received via phone
The developer has confirmed that their proposal contains two nationally significant infrastructure projects (the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange and works to a road junction). Will the applicant need to submit two separate applications for this?
Would a proposal to underground a section of electric line also be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project?
Developers can include more than one Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project within an application for a development consent order.

The Planning Act 2008 sets out thresholds at which certain infrastructure projects are considered to be nationally significant, requiring a development consent order. In regard to electric lines, only overhead lines are considered to be Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (provided they also meet the other thresholds detailed within section 16 of the Planning Act 2008, for example regarding the proposed length and voltage).

03 April 2018
Stop Rail Central - Alan Hargreaves
Enquiry received via email
We write regarding two schemes for SRFIs at Milton Northants, namely Roxhill (Northampton Gateway) and (Rail Central) Ashfield Land, both developers have now clearly indicated that their proposals are running on very similar time lines Roxhill having commenced Phase 2 consultation and Ashfield Land indicating Phase 2 consultation expected in Q1/2 2018.

We write with regard to the potential adverse cumulative impacts the interrelationship of both schemes, now running it appears concurrently, may have.

We have referred to PINS advice note 17 “Cumulative Effects Assessment”(CEA)in section 1.3 reference is specifically made to environmental effects, and in section 1.4 Advice note 17 PINS also state “When considering cumulative effects the ES should provide information on how the effects of the applicants proposal would combine and interact with the effects of other development”.

Could PINS confirm if the Cumulative impact relating to the practical aspects of the scheme(as well as environmental issues),which in this instance is two SRFIs potentially connecting into the same very limited Northampton Loop of the WCML, would be deemed to fall under Advice note 17 1.4 and thereby would need to be considered by both developers, and given the importance of Rail connectivity should this be dealt with in this pre application period.

We would appreciate your advice on this
If a proposed development requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be submitted as part of the application, the EIA Regulations necessitate that the applicant undertakes an assessment of cumulative effects, and considers alternatives to the proposed development. The assessment of cumulative effects would take into account other reasonably foreseeable schemes including any other relevant Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). Both developers are undertaking an EIA and will therefore submit an Environmental Statement as part of their application.

It would be for the Applicant for each scheme to make the case for, and to assess the impacts of, their proposed development taking into consideration the cumulative effects of the relevant built, consented and/or proposed developments as appropriate at the time that their application is lodged. Each case would be judged on its individual merits, where the appointed Examining Authority (ExA) would assess the material of the Applicant’s application documents and submissions received during the Examination (should the application be Accepted for Examination by the Secretary of State (SoS) via the Acceptance process) from interested parties.

You made reference specifically to section 1.4 of Advice Note 17, however we would encourage you to review the document in its entirety as it provides more information on cumulative effects assessment and includes the proposed methodology for Applicants to consider when reviewing cumulative effects.

The Applicants for both the Northampton Gateway and Rail Central SRFI proposal, have confirmed that they would be undertaking a cumulative assessment which would include the others proposal and therefore this matter is being considered/dealt with at the pre-application stage. We would encourage you to review the meeting notes published on both project pages (Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange and Rail Central SRFI) to have sight of discussions held between the Planning Inspectorate and the Applicants regarding their respective proposals. It is therefore safe to assume that as both Applicant’s would be considering each other’s proposal and their possible cumulative effects, that the decision maker (the SoS) would be equipped with an assessment of the likely cumulative effects associated with both schemes including if they were both operational.

It is essential to note, that when making a decision on whether or not to grant consent for an NSIP, the SoS will have regard to any important and relevant matter; as will the ExA appointed to examine an application and report to the SoS. The impact of a proposal on existing uses and its compatibility with other developments is a matter that could be raised in submissions and could be capable of being relevant and important.

19 January 2018
Pat Hargreaves
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Rail Central - Project Update Meeting
Please see attached.

09 January 2018
Ashfield Land - anon.
Enquiry received via email
Whilst I do understand that each case would be judged on its individual merits, for example there must surely be a point at which the cumulative impact of two schemes competing for rail connectivity on a stretch of track that is already nearing capacity is considered. If, as is widely thought to be the case, the West Coast Main Line could only handle the freight paths for one additional SRFI in the area, if one SRFI application is granted a DCO then any other similar proposals in the area would become “road-served” and non-compliant with the National Networks National Policy Statement. This would then remove other existing proposals from PINS’ jurisdiction.
At what stage would this happen?
In your email you refer to removing proposals from PINS’ jurisdiction and at what stage this would occur. To confirm, a proposal will be considered a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) if it meets the thresholds set within the Planning Act 2008 (as amended). A decision to grant a development consent order for one project will not therefore remove the NSIP ‘status’ of another project.

It is for Applicant’s themselves to decide whether or not to progress with submitting their application for a development consent order under the Planning Act 2008 (as amended). The Planning Inspectorate would deal with any submitted application(s) [as detailed in our previous advice dated 2nd November 2017].

29 November 2017
Tommy Gilchrist Parliamentary Assistant to the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
A number of my constituents are of the opinion that the Northampton Gateway proposals have now leapfrogged Rail Central, with Roxhill having now entered the statutory consultation phase. Some months ago it appeared that Rail Central / Ashfield Land were more progressed in their plans.

Does PINS have a view on whether it is likely that both SRFIs could be granted a Development Consent Order? I appreciate you won’t be able to comment on the merits of either scheme – I do not seek any such – but I would be interested to know if it was a case of “first come first served”, and if the granting of one would remove the business case for the other.
Thank you for your correspondence below. It would be for the Applicant for each scheme to make the case for, and to assess the impacts of, their proposed development taking into consideration the cumulative effects of the relevant built, consented and/or proposed developments as appropriate at the time that their application is lodged. Each case would be judged on its individual merits, where the appointed Examining Authority (ExA)/Panel would assess the material of the Applicant’s application documents and submissions received during the Examination (should the application be Accepted for Examination by the SoS via the Acceptance process) from interested parties. It is not possible to state whether the granting of consent for one project would necessarily remove the business case for another, it would be for the appointed ExA/Panel to assess all relevant material during the Examination on its individual merits to conclude on such matters and provide to the Secretary of State a recommendation on the matters assessed during the Examination. It would ultimately be the decision of the relevant Secretary of State (in this instance DfT) to decide on such matters.

PINS acts on behalf of the relevant Secretary of State on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) and does not consider any NSIP proposals on a “first come first served” basis. All material and discussions had with the Applicants have all been published on the relevant webpage for their projects. It is the Applicant’s decision to determine when they deem their proposal is adequate for submission.

We provide for information a link to the note of our last meeting with Rail Central and subsequent advice issued to them:

[attachment 1];ipcadvice=c2a692a96e

02 November 2017
Andrea Leadsom MP
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
I am interested in having a much better understanding the road safety implications of two major projects under consideration:-

Rail Central (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange)
Ashfield Land Limited Pre Application

Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange
Roxhill Developments Limited Pre Application

I want to see any information you have regarding:-

• Projected increases in traffic density on the local roads M1 A508, A45, A43, A5 and all the Rat Runs trough the local villages such as Stoke Bruerne, Shutlanger, Blisworth, Whittlebury etc.
• Increase in Dark Hours HGV (24 Hour Operation).
• Road Traffic Accident assessment due to the increased traffic density, increase HGV volume and HGV night operations.
• Increased delay times at the well known rush hour blackspots such as J15 and J15A
• Contingency plans for traffic diversion when say the M1 or A45 is closed due to RTA
• Anything else you think may be of interest.

Thank you.
Both the Rail Central and Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange projects are currently in the Pre-Application stage of the planning process for nationally significant infrastructure projects under the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) (PA2008). During this stage the developer is responsible for all information submitted, and we advise you to contact them directly in the first instance.

The contact information for both projects is as follows:

Rail Central (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange): Point of Contact: Ben Copithorne, 0207 6367366, Website: [attachment 1]

Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange:
Email: [email protected],
Tel: 01788 538 440
Postal Address: Northampton Gateway SRFI, P O Box 10570, Nottingham, NG2 9RG
Online contact form: [attachment 2]

I have also attached our Advice Note 8: Overview of the nationally significant infrastructure planning process for members of the public, which I hope you will find helpful.

03 October 2017
Terry Owen
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project Update meeting
Please see the attached meeting note and annex

13 June 2017
Ashfield Land - David Diggle
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
I would like to register my disgust in this proposal. There is already a site near by which is not fully developed at Daventry so what is the logic for this proposal. This is not an environmentally friendly propsAl and does not fit with the government's proposal to reduce emissions. At the moment the uk fails to meet EU directives reference clean air and this proposal will not help this situation. This proposal does not make any sense at any level. The government want decisions to be made at a local level yet here this is denied? This gives me no confidence in any government or developer who says they can justify this.
Currently this proposed development is in the Pre-Application stage of the planning process for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs); during this stage the developer will be preparing their application documents to be submitted to us, as well as consulting with the local community on their proposals. At this stage the application has not been finalised, and as such we advise for any concerns related to the project to be submitted directly to the applicant, in order for your views to inform the application before it is finalised and submitted to us for consideration.

[email protected]
Telephone: 0845 543 8967 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm (calls are charged at local rates)
Post: FREEPOST Rail Central
Website: www.railcentral.com

The developer’s second round of Pre-Application consultation is due to take place in September 2017, the details of which are set out in the developer’s recently issued Community Newsletter which I have attached for your information along with the following Advice Notes which provide further information on the planning process for NSIPs:

Advice Note 8.0 Overview of the nationally significant infrastructure planning process for members of the public
Advice Note 8.1 Responding to the developer’s pre-application consultation
Advice Note 8.2 How to register to participate in an Examination
Advice Note 8.3 Influencing how an application is Examined
Advice Note 2 The role of local authorities in the development consent process

Our full suite of Advice Notes and legislation/guidance related to NSIPs can be found at the following link:

[attachment 1]


If you have any issues with the consultation carried out by the developer, we would advise you to highlight these concerns to the relevant local authority, as they will be required to submit an Adequacy of Consultation report to us, once the application for this project has been submitted. We will have regard to any comments received from the relevant host or neighbouring authorities when making the decision whether or not to accept the application for Examination.


If the application is submitted and subsequently accepted for examination, you will also have the opportunity to register to participate in that examination and make submissions on whether or not the form of the proposal that is described in the application is acceptable, and whether development consent should be granted. You can register for automatic email updates on the progress of this project on our webpage:

[attachment 2]

09 May 2017
N Henry
Enquiry received via email
We write regarding above concurrent schemes for two proposed SRFIs,in Milton Northants both of the schemes intend making rail connections on the same section of the Northampton Loop of the West Coast Mainline, this same loop line also serves Daventry Dirft 1,2 and Dirft 3 a recently approved SRFI presently under construction, and Northampton Castle stations passenger and freight services approx. 3 miles north of the PDA also use this limited two line loop section of the WCML.

Given the proximity of both Dirft 3 and Northampton Castle station, we have serious concerns regarding the feasibility, practicality and ability of the Rail network to accommodate either, let alone both, of these proposals, whilst we fully appreciate that this issue is dealt with via Network Rails GRIP PROCESS,(Governance for Railway Investment Projects),we would wish to seek clarification on the following points,

>Does rail connectivity via the GRIP PROCESS have to be firmly established in the” pre application” period

>and if so what level in that process actually has to be established at this pre application stage, Grip 1,2 3…?


Finally we would also question whether either of the applicants have made any approaches to PINS to potentially arrange any joint site viewings or meeting between Network Rail/and yourselves to address this issue, you will be aware that Network Rails initial response to both applicants at the scoping opinion stage was “Given the location of the proposal is predicated on rail connectivity and the primary aim of the proposal(and Government Policy)is modal shift, detailed assessment of the impact(both individual and cumulative)at this early stage is CRUCIAL.
The GRIP process is an internal process used by Network Rail which sets out scheme definition, feasibility, option selection, detailed design and construction in stages. The process is entirely separate to the formal planning stages used by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs), and therefore there are no rules that define what stage in the GRIP process a developer needs to have achieved before submitting an application. Ultimately it is for developers to work with Network Rail to develop proposals in line with the GRIP approach.

With the above in mind, the critical consideration for a developer is to seek to provide an Examining Authority (ExA) with sufficient information and detail for them to be able to understand and assess the impacts of a scheme; if an ExA was unable to do this there would be a high risk that they could not recommend that consent be granted for that scheme. GRIP stage 3 relates to option selection, and GRIP stage 4 relates to single option development. If a developer had not reached a conclusion with Network Rail on a single option development (GRIP stage 4) this could present a greater high risk approach, as it could complicate the ExA’s ability to assess the potential impacts of the scheme.

As part our regular meetings with applicants, we ask about on-going engagement with parties such as Network Rail. Notes of these meetings are published on the Planning Inspectorate’s NSIP project webpage (Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange and Rail Central) . Neither of the applicants for the two projects has asked for a joint meeting with Network Rail so far. PINS Environmental Services Team held a site visit to Northampton Gateway in order to inform a recent scoping request. At present there has been no site visit to Rail Central.

21 February 2017
Stop Rail Central - Alan Hargreaves
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Can you confirm whether the following statement reflects The Planning Inspectorate's approach.
The Planning Inspectorate has advised that [Rail Central applicant Ashfield Land] should have regard to the emerging Roxhill proposals in terms of [Rail Central's] assessment and technical studies (i.e. for cumulative impact assessments) but that any examinations of two potential DCO applications coming forward will be separate.
Please see below a link to a recent Project Update Meeting between PINS and Rail Central (Ashfield Land) where this matter was discussed. For ease of reference I copy the text most relevant to your query as part of this email.
[attachment 1]

“The Inspectorate noted that there had recently been proposals for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange in very close proximity to the Rail Central site – The Inspectorate had received a Scoping Request for the proposed Northampton Gateway Scheme on 21 October 2016. The developer noted the proposals and confirmed that they would be including the project as part of their cumulative impact assessment. The Inspectorate considered it would be helpful if both developers could be as clear as possible in any consultation activity about the existence of the other to assist those who wish to provide consultation responses.

The Inspectorate confirmed that it had received queries about how the PA2008 regime would or could deal with a situation of two Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) of the same ‘type’ (i.e. Strategic Rail Freight Interchange) in very close proximity to each other.

Following submission and acceptance of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) application made in accordance with the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008), an Examining Authority (ExA) will be appointed to formally examine “the application”. The application seeks approval for the proposed development as identified in the accompanying plans. If made, a Development Consent Order cannot give permission for a wholly alternative site or a wholly different scheme to that which has been identified as the proposed development, or development site, within the DCO application.

The PA2008 does not explicitly provide for a situation whereby an ExA could be appointed to consider more than one application simultaneously (that is to effectively hold a joint examination of multiple applications) although this is not explicitly precluded. Notwithstanding the legality of such an approach, in practical terms the scale and complexity of the issues in examining two separate and independent NSIP applications within a 6 month examination timetable could have implications for achieving legally robust and distinct decisions as implied by PA2008. Furthermore, presumably such an approach would require separate applications to be submitted on very similar timescales and would need the agreement of both applicants.

However, aside from the legislative and logistical issues of an approach to examining two applications together, if a project requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be submitted as part of the application, the EIA Regulations necessitate that the applicant undertakes an assessment of cumulative effects, and considers alternatives to the proposed development. The assessment of cumulative effects would take into account other reasonably foreseeable schemes including any other relevant NSIPs. Given the scale of the proposed development for an NSIP it is highly likely that an EIA/ES would be required. More information on cumulative effects assessment including a proposed methodology can be found in Planning Inspectorate Advice Note 17. It is therefore safe to assume that the decision maker would be equipped with an assessment of the likely cumulative effects associated with both schemes including if they were both operational. The developer confirmed that they would be undertaking a cumulative assessment which would include the Northampton Gateway Strategic Rail Freight Interchange project.

When making a decision on whether or not to grant consent for an NSIP, the Secretary of State will have regard to any important and relevant matter; as will the Inspector(s) appointed to examine an application and report to the Secretary of State. The impact of a proposal on existing uses and its compatibility with other developments is a matter that could be raised in submissions and could be capable of being relevant and important.”

09 December 2016
Mark Redding
Enquiry received via email
We write to seek clarification on the definition of “open space and countryside” as referred to under NPSNN [National Policy Statement for National Networks para] 5.162 and would wish to question whether the several hundred acres of open countryside and predominantly good quality agricultural, the land which forms part of above application, would fall under this category. We are unsure whether clarification of policy falls within PINS remit or the [Secretary of State for Transport]. We have therefore also addressed this same question to our local MP The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom (via Tommy Gilchrist) so they may raise the issue with [the Secretary of State for Transport].
Clarification/ interpretation of Government policy does not fall within the remit of the Planning Inspectorate. I am therefore unable to advise you in this regard. Please contact the Department for Transport (DfT) with your query.

I am also unable to advise you about whether the lands to which you refer would fall under a legally defined category of “open space” and/ or “countryside”. The relevant local authority should be able to help you in this regard.

I can however advise you on the definition of “open space” within the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008), which may partially satisfy your query. Sections 131 and 132 of the PA2008 both state that:

In this section — “common”, “fuel or field garden allotment” and “open space” have the same meanings as in section 19 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 [ALA1981] (c. 67); […]

Open space is defined at subsection 19(4) of the ALA1981 as follows:

“open space” means any land laid out as a public garden, or used for the purposes of public recreation, or land being a disused burial ground.

The PA2008 does not provide a definition for “countryside” or for “open space and countryside”. Upon investigation, the footnote on page 79 of the National Policy Statement for National Networks (NPSNN) appears to be transposed from the glossary definition for “open space” in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). But the NPPF glossary does not also capture “countryside” as the footnote in the NPSNN appears to. This could form the basis of any future enquiry to DfT.

15 November 2016
Stop Rail Central Ltd - Alan Hargreaves
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project Update Meeting
Please see attached meeting note

02 November 2016
Rail Central - Ashfield Land
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Mr Hayward sent comments to the Planning Inspectorate about the visual impact of the proposed scheme.
At the Acceptance stage of the Planning Act 2008 process, in consideration of how an applicant has carried out its statutory Pre-application consultation duties, the Planning Inspectorate will apply tests in relation to how the applicant has demonstrated in its Consultation Report that it has had regard to consultation responses. Applicants must provide evidence of the steps taken in response to any queries or concerns received, or provide reasoned justification for why no action was taken. It is important therefore for any concerns about an applicant’s consultation to be shared with it at the appropriate time, and in the appropriate manner; as advertised by the applicant in its Statement of Community Consultation.

In January 2016 the Planning Inspectorate issued a scoping opinion in response to a scoping report submitted by Ashfield Land Management Ltd (ALM) in December 2015. The scoping opinion is a formal written opinion about the information to be included in ALM’s Environmental Statement (for submission with any application for development consent). It establishes the environmental aspects that the Planning Inspectorate thinks should be assessed and the methods it thinks are appropriate to do so. The Rail Central scoping opinion is available to read on our website, here:

[attachment 1]

The scoping opinion records the applicant’s intention to consult with the local authority and Natural England about its landscape and visual assessment. A typical approach to considering and finalising associated methodologies would apply the guidance Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (3rd ed), produced by the Landscape Institute and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). The methodology that Rail Central chooses in carrying out its landscape and visual assessment must be presented in the Environmental Statement submitted with any application for development consent. That methodology will then be subject to any examination of the application (by one or more Examining Inspectors), and interested parties will be able to make representations about it at the appropriate time (see information about the application process, here: [attachment 2].

26 September 2016
Phillip Hayward
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Mr Marsh sent a suite of concerns about the proposed scheme to the Planning Inspectorate.
See attached letter.

26 September 2016
Tony Marsh
Enquiry received via email
Advice on submitting an authorisation request for access to land under section 53 of the Planning Act
• A separate plan should be provided for each authorisation request which identifies the title number in question and also identifies which part(s) of the registered land access is requested for (see guidance in our advice note in this regard)
• Copies of Land Registry titles should be submitted for registered land and evidence of a land registry search should be submitted for unregistered land.
• Where access to buildings is to be requested, the authorisation request should identify which buildings this would be for and why. PINS also advises it is made clear to the relevant landowners/occupiers/tenants in advance of the authorisation request being made that access to buildings will be requested and for which buildings and why. Care should be taken in drafting conditions which would allow any access to buildings.
• The authorisation request should set out whether each of the tenants/occupiers/lessees have been consulted in addition to the landowner(s). If they have not been consulted, the authorisation request should justify why not. The Planning Inspectorate expects the applicant to send a copy of the authorisation request that is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate to each of these.
• Any evidence you can provide from statutory bodies confirming the need for surveys on these areas of land should be provided in support of your application.
• The application should identify, as far as possible, the locations of any intrusive survey works, in particular any boreholes that may remain in place for an extended period of time.
• Authorisations are usually granted for 12 months (however will cease upon submission of a DCO application); if you wish for the authorisation to be longer than this then this should be justified within your application.

11 August 2016
Turley's - Matthew Sheppard
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Assessment of Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges
Thank you for your correspondence dated 5 May 2016; its contents have been read and noted.

The Planning Inspectorate does not produce the type of guidance you refer to in respect of Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SFRI). The Department for Transport are responsible for preparing the National Network National Policy Statement which would be the key policy document in respect of those SFRI that meet the requirements of the Planning Act 2008. You may wish to contact them in respect of the key points in your letter.

In your letter you also refer to a specific scheme, being Rail Central. This is currently at the Pre-Application stage and the Inspectorate are aware that a scoping request was submitted in December 2015 and that the current consultation exercise (which includes the developer’s Preliminary Environmental Information Report) runs from 28 April 2016 to 30 September 2016. You may wish to share the contents of your letter with the developer of the Rail Central scheme during this statutory consultation activity.

You also mention specific cases that have not been determined through the Planning Act route, however legislation related to the Planning Act governs who is considered to be the Consultation Bodies for the purposes of compiling a Scoping Opinion – more information on this is set out in our Advice Note 3:
[attachment 1]

There is a useful annexe to that Advice Note that sets out the current approach in respect of Transport for London and when they would be identified as a consultation body for the production of a Scoping Opinion:
[attachment 2]

The legislation in respect of the Planning Act is ‘owned’ by Department for Communities and Local Government.

12 May 2016
Dr Andrew Gough
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Project update
Project update meeting

23 February 2016
Ashfield Land - Rail Central
Enquiry received via email
response has attachments
Certain highway improvements which may form part of the project could be classed as NSIP in their own right and this may require screening of the highway improvements in accordance with Section 22(5)(c) of the Planning Act 2008 to establish whether they will give rise to any likely significant effects. Have PINS had any previous experience of screening highway improvements under this section and what is the process for this.
The Planning Inspectorate do not provide legal advice on which applicants and others can rely. Nor do the Planning Inspectorate provide a ?screening? process to determine whether a project is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP); it is for a developer to seek their own legal advice on whether their proposal/part of a proposal would be considered an NSIP.

In respect of the term ?screening?, a developer may request a Screening Opinion from the Secretary State (SoS) under the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 to determine whether a project is ?EIA development? for the purposes of the Regulations. ?EIA development? is defined as either Schedule 1 development (which can include some road schemes) or Schedule 2 development which likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location. The SoS must adopt a screening opinion within 21 days of receipt of the request, but would require sufficient detail about the proposal. Such a Screening Opinion would not be produced for the purposes of s22(5)(c) PA2008.

In the case of the A19 Coast Road junction improvement, I understand that a Screening Opinion was requested by the Highways Agency, the information for which can be found on our website.
[attachment 1];stage=1&filter=Environmental+Impact+Assessment
However, my understanding was also that the ?junction improvements? were considered to be an NSIP by virtue of s22(3) i.e. an alteration under the PA2008.

06 November 2015
Ashfield Land
Enquiry received via meeting
Query in respect of how the Freedom of Information Act might apply to information held by PINS.
The Planning Inspectorate can be subject to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations and each request must be determined on its merits. We would therefore suggest that you do not provide The Planning Inspectorate with information that you would not wish to be in the public domain.

04 November 2015
Ashfield Land
Enquiry received via meeting
response has attachments
Please see attached Meeting Note.

14 October 2015
Ashfield Land