Saturday 24th Sep 2016 - Logistics Manager

Massive rail freight hub for West Midlands

Plans for a rail freight interchange to rival DIRFT have been put forward for a 617 acre site just off Junction 12 of the M6 motorway in the West Midlands.

The proposals have been revealed by a consortium called Four Ashes led by Surrey-based Kilbride, which specialises in rail infrastructure to serve business and industry, with funding from Grosvenor Group and Kilbride, while the majority of the land belongs to Piers Monckton, whose family owns Stretton Hall.

It is thought the project known as ‘West Midlands Interchange’ will provide a much needed rail freight exchange and associated warehousing, reducing congestion on the West Midlands’ busy motorway network by linking directly to the West Coast Main Line.

On its website Kilbride noted: “The West Midlands has a shortage of suitable quality development land for large scale rail linked logistics warehousing. Kilbride has selected the site at Four Ashes site following a review of the region and has signed up land options over the site. The project is being taken through a major National Infrastructure planning application for warehousing and a large-scale intermodal rail terminal. The rail infrastructure has GRIP 3 approval from Network Rail.

“The site is unique in that has excellent road and rail infrastructure together with the scale of developable land capable of delivering warehouse units of between 200,000 sq ft and over 1 million sq ft. Four Ashes is one of very few sites in the UK with good road access and where the rail access is the necessary W10 gauge that will enable the largest sized containers to be moved on the rail network to the rail terminal.”

The site is located on Junction 12 of the M6, near Cannock and is bounded by the A5 to the north and the A449 dual carriageway to the west. The site has been promoted through the West Midlands RSS and through the South Staffordshire Local Plan, but the project qualifies as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and so will require a submission to be made via the Planning Inspectorate.

A master plan for the project is expected to be released during the summer and will be subject to full public consultation.