Northamptonshire family: Government could force us to sell our house... and we only found out from a neighbour

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.)

A family had to learn from neighbours that their Northamptonshire house is likely to be bought by developers against their will.

The Hunter family live in Northampton Road, between Milton Malsor and Blisworth, and have done so for 10 years, extending their house and sending their children to nearby schools.

But they found out by chance this month that a plan existed - called Rail Central - to evict them from their home, demolish it and build part of a huge rail depot on top.

Lynn Hunter - who has a five-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son - said: “Someone had heard about a public meeting and was dropping leaflets through doors when I happened to bump into him.

“I was completely devastated. We have a home where our kids have grown up and are happy, and that could well be taken away.

“We are in limbo now, you can’t plan for the future. It’s made us feel like our own home doesn’t belong to us any more.”

Developer Ashfield Land has so far had no personal contact with Lynn or husband Jeff, even though there have been two public meetings where maps were displayed showing the Hunters’ house in the middle of the proposed site.

Ashfield Land does not own all the land required but the type of scheme is thought so important by the Government that, if approved by a minister, land not acquired will be compulsorily purchased.

It would see eight million sq ft of warehouses and rail sidings designed to receive goods carried by train.

The developer said it is in the process of informing people who could be affected by the proposal.

James Digby, from Rail Central said: “Everyone with property within the potential site area we are looking at for Rail Central will be kept informed. We are right at the start of the process. That planning process ensures that everyone with an interest in property and land affected is informed and involved.”