A controversial proposal to build a huge rail depot to the south of Northampton has been approved by the Secretary of State for Transport today (Thursday, October 10).
The Northampton Gateway strategic rail freight interchange, a large rail depot built on land east of the West Coast Main Line and next to J15 of the M1 between Milton Malsor and Collingtree, can now go ahead.
The Planning Inspectorate’s chief executive Sarah Richards said: “The Planning Inspectorate is committed to giving local communities the opportunity of being involved in the examination of projects that may affect them.
"Local people, the local authority and other interested parties were able to participate in the six month long examination.
"The Examining Authority listened and gave full consideration to those local views.”
Developer Roxhill's plans include an intermodal freight terminal including container storage and HGV parking, with landscaping, a new access on the A508, a new bypass for Roade, and improvements to J15.
But campaigners, MPs and residents cited concerns around existing unused capacity at nearby Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal and capacity constraints on the West Coast Main Line.
As well as the impact of thousands of additional vehicle movements on the roads, increased air and noise pollution, the blight on the landscape and that the sites are not earmarked for industrial development.
South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom wrote on her website: "I know that many residents will be extremely disappointed that this development will now go ahead, and I will be discussing with the local action group what other options may still be available to them.
"I would like to recognise the herculean efforts of the action group and their coordinators in putting forward such a strong case against Northampton Gateway over the past several years."
The full decision can be read here. More to follow.