Council slams plans for strategic rail freight interchange

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Blaby Council has slammed developer Tritax Symmetry’s proposed 6.9 million ft2 Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange in Leicestershire.

In a comprehensive consultation response the council calls into question whether the plans for the 450-acre site should even be considered under special rules for  “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project” whereby the decision for approval is made by the Secretary of State for Transport rather than at a local or regional level.

Large schemes of this nature are considered under rules for NSIP because they are deemed too important to the country as a whole to be left to local government but in order to be considered they must meet certain criteria. In the case of a national rail freight interchange, a significant number of the buildings proposed should be rail connected from the outset. The council claims that Tritax Symmetry’s proposals do ‘not appear to provide the ability for the majority of the units to be rail-connected, or provide the potential to be rail-connected in the future’.

This said the council ‘indicates that the scheme as currently proposed does not meet this baseline criteria to accord with the designation as a freight interchange in accordance with Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project requirements (Section 26 of the Planning Act 2008)’.

The council has a number of negative and strongly negative concerns in respect of the plans as currently proposed including ‘unnecessary operational issues/traversing of the A47 link road’ ‘issues over delivery of the surface water drainage solution’, a ‘significant shortfall in biodiversity value’, ‘landscape harm’, ‘mitigation and poor consideration towards the desirability of the rerouted public highways (footpaths, cycles and bridleways)’ and issues with employment numbers.

Unsurprisingly the council goes on to write that it “cannot currently support the proposal”.

Tritax Symmetry is looking to have planning consent secured by the end of 2023.

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