Developers behind controversial rail depot plan near Northampton criticised for error-strewn plans

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Developers trying to build a huge rail depot near Northampton have been criticised by the Transport Secretary for being unable to pinpoint the Grand Union Canal.

Ashfield Land has submitted early plans about the depot, which would be built in a vast area between Milton Malsor and Blisworth, for comment by the Government and other agencies.

But in 60 pages of criticism, Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin points out numerous errors and omissions.

He says: “There are a number of references to the location of the Grand Union Canal that contradict each other, but which all identify it as being outside the application site.

“However [an attached map] shows the Grand Union Canal crossing the south west of the application site.”

The Canal and River Trust, another consultee, said the question of whether the canal was in the rail depot area or not was important, particularly because it has been a conservation area since 2014.

Other errors in the ‘scoping document’ pointed out by the Government include a passage stating that development in the proposed site is limited to a filling station, when in fact there are several businesses and homes on Northampton Road, which links Milton Malsor to Blisworth.

There are also various descriptions of the land in question that range from “flat” to “undulating” to “natural bowl”.

And, similar to the canal, Ashfield Land contradicts itself by saying that the A43 does not form part of the site when the map shows that it does.

The secretary of state concludes: “The above list is not exhaustive.

“The applicant should ensure that the description of the application site and surroundings is accurate and consistent.”