Developer Tritax Symmetry has resubmitted its 9.1 million ft² Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange application to the Planning Inspectorate after withdrawing it in March when it was told that it needed to provide further technical reports.
Blaby Council had raised adequacy of consultation concerns setting out the council’s belief that the consultation was not adequate and fell short of the standards expected.
The council said there were failures to provide accurate detail and mitigation surrounding impacts on highways and the landscape, having concerns about the effects on both traffic congestion and air quality for residents.
Following further technical reports from the developer, the Planning Inspectorate has decided to accept the application and will now begin assessing the plans, with the project moving into the pre-examination phase.
The 450-acre site had been proposed to the Planning Inspectorate to be considered under special rules for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) whereby the decision for approval is made by the Secretary of State for Transport rather than at a local or regional level.
The scheme has garnered a great deal of local resistance notably from Blaby Council, which suggested the scheme should not be considered as an NSIP, as reported by Logistics Manager in April last year.
The scheme just off at Junction 2 of the M69 will comprise an intermodal rail freight terminal on the Felixstowe-to-Nuneaton railway line with a daily capacity to accommodate 16 trains up to 775m in length (removing up to 1.6 billion HGV kilometres a year from the roads) augmented by 9.15 million ft² of warehouse floorspace.
The whole scheme will be landscaped and provide public rights of way and the creation of new ecological enhancement areas and publicly accessible open areas. The plans would also deliver over £70 million worth of infrastructure improvements to help manage traffic flow in the local area, including new slip roads at Junction 2 and a new link road connecting the M69 to B4669 / A47 Leicester Road.
It will be constructed to net zero and provide up to 8,400 jobs.
Cat Hartley, Planning and Strategic Growth Group Manager at Blaby District Council, said: “We are disappointed the Planning Inspectorate have decided to accept this application in spite of our long-held and ongoing concerns. We will continue to scrutinise Tritax Symmetry’s proposals and present our views to the Planning Inspectorate as the application process continues.”
While Blaby District Council will comment on the application, it cannot make the final decision – the scheme is of such scale and national importance that it will be determined by the Secretary of State for Transport.
During the next few months, stakeholders – including the public – will be asked for their views. A six-month long examination phase will follow, starting in the latter half of this year. The Planning Inspectorate will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport whether to approve the project early in 2024.
Logistics Manager’s ESG Industrial & Logistics Conference will be taking place on Thursday 15 June 2023! Click here to find out more about the event.