9.1 million ft² Hinckley Rail Freight Terminal proposals sent to Planning Inspectorate
Developer Tritax Symmetry has sent the Planning Inspectorate the proposals for its 9.1 million ft² Hinckley Rail Freight Terminal in Leicestershire.
The developer has put the 450-acre site to the Planning Inspectorate to be considered under special rules for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) whereby the decision for approval is made by the Secretary of State for Transport rather than at a local or regional level.
Large schemes of this nature are considered under rules for NSIP because they are deemed too important to the country as a whole to be left to local government, but in order to be considered they must meet certain criteria. In the case of a national rail freight interchange, a significant number of the buildings proposed should be rail connected from the outset.
The scheme has garnered a great deal of local resistance notably from Blaby Council which suggested the scheme should not be considered as a NSIP as reported by Logistics Manager in April last year.
In addition, South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa and his Hinckley and Bosworth counterpart Luke Evans have both voiced their concerns, with Costa even bringing the matter up in Parliament. A letter from the MPs to the Secretary of State expressed concern regarding the rail hub’s impact on the countryside, local roads, and passenger services. Surveys carried out by the MPs have shown that constituents’ thoughts about the hub are broadly negative.
Blaby Council has already submitted its first response to the application to comment on whether it believed consultation on the proposals had been adequate.
This Adequacy of Consultation Representation has now been sent into the Planning Inspectorate, unsurprisingly setting out the Council’s belief that the consultation was not adequate and falls short of the standard expected.
From the day after receipt of the application, the Planning Inspectorate has 28 days to review the application and decide whether or not to accept it. The acceptance decision on this application should therefore be made by Monday 6 March 2023.
The scheme just off at Junction 2 of the M69 will comprise an intermodal rail freight terminal on the Felixstowe to Nuneaton railway line with a daily capacity to accommodate 16 trains up to 775m in length (removing up to 1.6 billion HGV kilometres a year from the roads) augmented by 9.15 million ft² of warehouse floorspace.
The whole scheme will be landscaped and provide public rights of way and the creation of new ecological enhancement areas and publicly accessible open areas.
It will be constructed to net zero and provide up to 8,400 jobs.