Fresh rail freight interchange proposals submitted for PINS examination

An application for a development consent order has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for a strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) in Northamptonshire, the third such scheme to be submitted to the body this year.

A masterplan visualisation of the Rail Central scheme in Northamptonshire
A masterplan visualisation of the Rail Central scheme in Northamptonshire

The latest project, being brought forward by Ashfield Land and Gazeley, is proposed for a site where the West Coast Main Line meets the Northampton Loop Line to the south west of Northampton, between the villages of Blisworth and Milton Malsor.

The Rail Central scheme would have direct rail connections to the West Coast Main Line and Northampton Loop Line alongside road access to the A43 and M1.

In addition, the proposals include up to 702,000 square metres of warehouse space; highway improvements to 15 junctions, with a major upgrade to junction 15A of the M1; and 26 hectares of ecological mitigation at land south of junction 15A.

According to its promoters, the scheme would be a "next-generation SRFI capable of handling both traditional container freight and the emerging demand for ‘fast freight’ linked to the growth of e-commerce and customer expectations for rapid and next day delivery".

PINS has until 19 October to consider whether it will accept the application for examination.

The inspectorate is already considering an application for a DCO for a rail freight scheme in Northamptonshire. The application, submitted by developer Roxhill in May, seeks consent for the Northampton Gateway scheme on approximately 247 hectares of land to the west of the M1 near Wooton.

In August, separate plans for a rail freight interchange in the West Midlands were accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate. The West Midlands Interchange would be built on a 297-hectare site approximately 10 kilometres north of Wolverhampton and six kilometres west of Cannock in Staffordshire.

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