Rail Central (Strategic 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.

Rail Central (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange)

Received 02 December 2018
From Mr Simon P Jones




The West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy (WNJCS) completed, found to be sound by PINS and formally adopted in 2014 specifically rejected a request from 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 Rail Central. 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 to the idea of providing Strategic National Importance simply in order to bypass local planning.

Northamptonshire is a mainly rural county with only a few medium sized towns, 3 freight terminals (DIRFT, Rail Central and Northampton Gateway) would be vastly in excess of the needs of the local market.

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. Travelling by road to the village on the A43 from the Towcester direction involves crossing west-bound traffic on the A43. (the Blisworth/Milton Malsor Turn). This is already a dangerous junction and the increased traffic due to the development would see drivers avoiding it by rat running through local villages. What guarantees preventing this or from using the local villages as a car park by employees?

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.

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. 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 views over what is currently mainly open countryside would be totally destroyed by massive warehouses and high earth mounds (bunding). These earth mounds would be a completely alien feature and a blot on the landscape.

There is a large network of ancient footpaths that connect Milton Malsor with other local villages. The freight terminal would completely destroy these rights of way and we would lose hundreds of acres of productive agricultural land when the country needs to produce more food.