New jobs from rail depot not villagers’ priority, says Northamptonshire MP

The eight million square foot Rail Central depot between Milton Malsor and Blisworth would, developers claim, deliver 8,000 new jobs.

But Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire (whose constituency will include both villages by the time any depot is built) said low-skilled jobs are not as important to residents as combatting potentially massive congestion problems.

She said: “​South Northamptonshire is one of the areas with the lowest unemployment.

“The challenge here is much more about issues like getting a foot on the housing ladder.

“​The priority is not these jobs, which will be mostly low-skilled.

“You assume it will mean people having to commute in. Rail Central can’t tell me where those people would live.

“They need to take account of the needs of the community rather than just getting a plot and wanting to build on it.

Mrs Leadsom said the schedule of the development, which is set for completion in 2021, would potentially clash with works needed for with the High Speed 2 rail line.

“For me and my constituents that would be a disaster. The A43 has to be dug up and the movements on there mean it is already very busy.

“​Both the proposed timing and proposed location of Rail Central really are a problem for my constituents.​“

The energy minister, who addressed residents last week in Blisworth, said she had talked to representatives of Rail Central days earlier.

She told a gathering that Rail Central’s intentions were good in spreading information as early as possible but had unfortunately only worried them.

She said: “To be fair to them, they had started informal consultation off their own bat because they didn’t want to alienate people.

​“​​However, when I asked about HGV movements and why there was no specific mitigation for sound and light​ and other pollution, they couldn’t help me.

“It’s frustrating for residents that the plans are there but nobody can answer their specific questions.”​

A formal consultation will take place from April 28.