Vast rail depot plan on the outskirts of Northampton ‘to gift open space’

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Developers behind the eight million square foot rail depot in rural Northamptonshire have said the scheme could ‘create new open space’.

The claim is made in documents released today by Ashfield Land as part of a public consultation into the proposed Rail Central site between Milton Malsor and Blisworth.

It reveals a new annotated map of the huge warehouses that would be constructed to handle freight from across the world.

It also suggests ways to mitigate the impact on the villages and suggests that loss of public rights of way could be off-set.

Ashfield Land says:“You may be concerned that there will be impacts on existing public rights of way or other community facilities, and feel that this should be mitigated by the creation of newfootpaths or a new area of open space or a country park, or new community facilities.”

Villagers yesterday labelled the suggestions “comical”. Max Darby, of the Stop Rail Central campaign group, said: “Are they really saying they will insert a vast depot on open countryside and then offer to create some open space.It’s ridiculous.”

Elsewhere in the documents, other possible additions to the site are suggested, such as a new hotel and public house / restaurant.

A “an on-site science / engineering training and innovation centre” that would potentially encourage people to consider careers in engineering or logistics is also mentioned.

The first public exhibition of the consultation documents is today (Thursday)between noon and 8pm at The Walnut Tree Inn in Blisworth.

New details on site’s freight movements

Ashfield Land has for the first time given examples of how freight would move on and off the Rail Central site.

It says a train of containers may arrive from mainland Europe or even China, with goods for the UK.

Others may come from rail-connected factories elsewhere in the UK or Europe.

Goods bound for destinations outside the Midlands are then moved out by road or rail, with those to places further afield eg to Scotland or the South East moving by rail.