Councillors ask for £100k of public money to fight rail depot plan

Proposed area of Rail Central depot from developer's environmental study map. (Yellow shaded area is parks and gardens and not part of the plan.)
Proposed area of Rail Central depot from developer's environmental study map. (Yellow shaded area is parks and gardens and not part of the plan.)

Councillors are expressing their concerns about the proposed Rail Central development for Milton Malsor and Blisworth with a motion to South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) asking to establish a £100,000 fighting fund.

The money would be set aside for SNC to use on technical reports to “measure nuisance, obtain expert advice on flooding, landscaping” and other issues.

The motion also calls on the developers of these warehouses to recognise that they are already causing harm in the local area and to establish a “blight compensation fund” immediately, similar to that connected to the HS2 rail line.

Conservative councillor Ann Addison, the local councillor for Milton Malsor, is proposing the motion and seeking support of the Tory administration.

Councillor Addison said, “This is an outrageous proposal that will cause irreparable harm to these villages should it ever happen and is already damaging the lives residents today.

“I hope my colleagues can see that this proposal needs to be fought with vigour and I want to ensure that SNC has funds to match the developers.”

Fellow Tory and ward councillor Karen Cooper also said: “This unwanted and unnecessary proposal requires detailed examination.

“We need to understand the impact on the roads and motorways for miles around. A development of this size will impact far beyond the immediate villages and we need to make sure the Government understands this. I hope these funds are approved so we can hold the developers to account”

Hywel Davies, councillor for Blisworth and Roade, said: “The residents in the immediate vicinity are already losing house sales because of this proposal. It is important for people to be able to get on with their lives and not be blighted by this proposal for years to come.

“Therefore, it is important for a compensation fund to be established without delay.”

The motion will be debated by SNC at a full council meeting on Wednesday April 13 at 6pm and states:

“This council notes the proposal for Rail Central and believes that such a proposal, could cause harm to the environment, blight the lives of residents and damage the quality of life in the area.

“This council notes that it already has strong employment site proposals and renews its commitment to these major employment sites identified within the Joint Core Strategy being Junction 16 M1, Silverstone Business Park, and smaller allocations within the Sustainable Urban Extensions at Towcester and Brackley.

“The council pledges itself to protect the interests of residents and communities with regard to Rail Central and allocates a sum of £100,000 from unallocated reserves to be used for the preparation of reports, technical assessments, expert evidence, legal and professional fees to support the council’s position in safeguarding our residents and communities.

“This council calls upon the developer to urgently establish a fund to provide blight compensation for those residents affected by this proposal now, along with similar lines to that which has been established and agreed for HS2.”