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 28 December 2018
From Lynda Payton

Representation

While there is a clear need for widely spread SRFI’s across all national regions, I doubt the need to place a second one within 15 miles of an existing one (DIRFT) which I understand has capacity for the next 15 years, and bearing in mind other substantial SFRI related warehousing either constructed, under construction or applied for in the East Midlands region including the current application for Northampton Gateway adjoining the Rail Central site provide capacity far in excess of regional need. Further to this, this development is contrary to the adopted West Northamptonshire West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy (WNJCS) and will conflict with agreed planning objectives.
The local road network is already far too congested to support the scheme and the proposed 20,000 additional vehicle movements per day will worsen air pollution which will impact local villages and their communities, not to mention a potential extra 16,500 vehicle movements for Northampton Gateway if approved giving a staggering combined total of 36,000+ vehicles per day on surrounding roads. It is unlikely that government targets for reducing emissions and improving air quality could be met and the ability to meet Air Quality directives compromised.
At this time I understand there has been no confirmation that the Northampton Loop or West Coast Main Lines can support additional freight capacity therefore there is a possibility that the SRFI will not be able to accept any freight by rail even if it has capacity to do so. Furthermore, I am aware concern has been expressed that any increase in freight rail services will be at the expense of passenger services which need to increase and not reduce to meet the needs of increasing local populations. At present there is no incentive for freight operators to switch from road to rail and without such incentive the modal shift will not happen. Therefore there is a high risk that the development will serve road users and provide warehousing only.
Northamptonshire has very low levels of unemployment and therefore a new workforce will have to travel from afield putting even more pressure on the local road network and increasing levels of pollutants further. Since there is no capacity within the local workforce, granting of permission for this development may result in further applications for housing and associated amenities leading to further unwanted development and loss of countryside and rural communities. This would be over and above the loss of over 1,150 acres of green infrastructure caused by this and the Northampton Gateway applications combined.
Much of the northern boundary of the site borders the attractive Grade 2 listed 200 year old Northampton Canal Arm with its iconic lift bridges and 17 narrow locks. The rural setting of the canal will be adversely affected by noise, light and air pollution as well as visual blight of this industrial development.