Northampton Borough Council asks developer to consider environment in its response to rail depot consultation

Rail Central would occupy land between Milton Malsor and Blisworth
Rail Central would occupy land between Milton Malsor and Blisworth

Northampton Borough Council has focussed on the environmental impact a rail depot south of the town would have in its response as part of the public consultation.

The Rail Central development could see a strategic rail freight interchange built between Milton Malsor and Blisworth.

The authority does not have a decisive say on the project - that decision lies with the Planning Inspectorate - but it has been encouraged to engage with applicants Ashfield Land and Gazeley to give its opinion during the pre-planning stage.

Members of the planning committee accept that the proposed scheme is in line with the Government's aim to reduce road traffic, but they have submitted their suggestions to mitigate the effect of the rail depot, predominantly on the local environment.

Though the site of the rail freight interchange falls entirely in South Northamptonshire District's administrative boundary, the highway works proposed at Junction 15a of the M1 do fall within parts of Northampton Borough.

In its report, the council urges the developers to "contribute in reductions in carbon emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change".

To do this, it should achieve a minimum rating of, at least, very good standard or equivalent in the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), which assesses the sustainability of buildings,

The borough council also wants measures put in place to ensure there is no increased risk of flooding and that drainage mitigation is in place during construction and thereafter.

Rail Central have said their warehouses could measure up to 18.5m in height. It has included plans to hide them as best they can using trees and vegetation, while installing green and brown outside panels on the warehouses.

The council's planning committee has suggested these masking techniques be put in place early to mitigate the visual impact of the warehouses.