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 22 December 2018
From Beryl Andrews

Representation

I object strongly to the proposed Rail Central development. It is not in an appropriate position, on productive farmland, sandwiched between 3 historic Conservation Areas whose environment and views would be totally destroyed. It is far too close to residential properties on and bordering the site with the resulting serious effect on health and sleep patterns. The new elevated junction at Blisworth Arm will have a massive impact of noise and light pollution on the residents and on the Grand Union Canal Conservation Area.
A main public road bisects the site and the proposed 2-lane underpass connecting the 2 sides has a high flood risk. Any blockage would leave the east side stranded unless the emergency exits were opened causing a safety risk in the villages.
The development would be totally contrary to local planning policies. This area is designated by the South Northants local plan as a strategic gap to maintain its rural character and village identity and prevent coalescence of the villages south of the M1 into the Northampton conurbation. The West Northants Joint Core Strategy (JCS) states that large warehousing developments will be provided for at DIRFT, only 18 miles away.
This is NOT a strategic location for a national network, with multiple SRFIs in the same region. It is not close to major conurbations to reduce the secondary leg of distribution and is remote from industrial heartlands. The National Policy Statement for National Networks (NSPNN) requires SRFIs to be near business markets, not adjacent to residential or environmental areas and within close proximity of a local workforce. South Northants has one of the lowest claimant rates in the country (0.7%) and the distance travelled by workers will negate any carbon benefits.
The connectivity of the site is overstated, with no direct link to the motorway. A single access point on the A43 for the anticipated 22,500 vehicle movements per day is insufficient for a development of this scale and the local road network is totally inadequate to deal with the increase in traffic. The JGC states that the existing infra structure is already at or close to capacity and that traffic congestion must be addressed.
The A43 is a busy trunk road between the M1 and the A5, but is also used extensively by local and farm traffic and a bus route. It is crossed by 4 footpaths, 2 bridleways and 4 at-grade junctions to access local villages and has 2 bus stops and 6 lay-bys. The accident severity index is already 3 times higher than average and the Tove roundabout is frequently gridlocked. Extra traffic would increase congestion and accident risk.
The M1 J15 - 17 is predicted to be the most severely congested road in the country by 2040 and accidents and closures are frequent, totalling over 87 hours in 2017. There are no contingency plans for these scenarios. Air pollution in Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) at J15 and at Tove roundabout is already non-compliant with the European Directive.