Stop Roxhill

The developer, Roxhill, has proposed building 5 million square feet

 of warehousing on over 500 acres of arable farmland close to Junction

 15 of the M1 and the surrounding communities of Roade, Milton

 Malsor, Grange Park and Collingtree.

This is in addition to the separate proposal from Ashfield Land (Rail Central) for another

8 million sq ft of warehousing on an adjoining site.


Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

There are many reasons to oppose this speculative proposal:


CONFLICT WITH PLANNING POLICY

 The agreed Strategic Plan for the region, specifically excludes industrial development at this location.
A previous application by Roxhill for a 2.67m sq ft Distribution Centre was withdrawn after widespread opposition.


BY PASSING LOCAL DEMOCRACY

Roxhill argue that the inclusion of a rail link to the Northampton Loop line allows this proposal to be decided by central government as 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure' rather than by the locally accountable planning process.


HUGE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Residential areas surrounding the proposed site  are already exposed to high levels of air, noise and light pollution that are already above legal limits. Some of this has been partly mitigated by dispersion over open countryside close by. Roxhill's proposal will destroy this 'green lung' as well as the wildlife habitat it provides. (see video clip on next page)


TRAFFIC OVERLOAD

The existing traffic congestion on the M1, A45 and A508, is self evident and increases 'rat running' through residential roads. The number of (diesel) HGV's needed to service 5 million sq ft of warehousing will be enormous. Roxhill claim that 6,000 people will work at the site. Because of low unemployment in this region, the workforce would be drawn from a wide area and are likely to travel by car. Roxhill have promised to fund improvements to Junction 15 but the changes proposed in their earlier (and smaller) planning application, were judged by planners as unlikely to add to overall capacity.


LACK OF STRATEGIC 'NEED'

Industry experts say that a Rail Interchange is not needed in this location because the DIRFT facility is only 18 miles further north and has expansion capacity for the next 20 years. In addition, The likely occupiers would be yet more road freight warehouse operators moving to be nearer to the M1. This would be completely against government objectives and an unintended consequence of an unclear policy on locating Rail Freight Interchanges.


 Is it really in the 'national interest' to wipe out  out hundreds of acres of

productive farmland and wildlife habitat  -  and create yet more traffic congestion

 and pollution on an already overstretched road network ?





LATEST NEWS


·        The Roxhill Examination Saga drags on with Roxhill still saying they expect a decision by SoS for Transport in 2019 whoever that might be! The management of the application process appears to have been taken over by Roxhills financial partner SEGRO (formerly Slough Estates).  SEGRO have not been previously involved with Rail Freight Terminals but are the biggest warehouse developer in Europe. This confirms the view that this is not really about rail freight but just about building warehouses.

·    

·        Meanwhile the Rail Central project is in the Planning Inspectorate process but no start date for the Examination has been set yet.

 

·        Added to this there is yet another SFRI project now proposed at Hinkley. Many rail freight experts think that this is a far better option and more genuinely ‘Strategic’

·        The next stage will be more Public Hearings scheduled at the Hilton. 12th March  (10am) dealing with Cumulative Impact. 13th March (9.30am) dealing with the Development Control Order. 13th March (2.30pm) dealing with Compulsory Acquisition.

·        There is also an Open Hearing on 14th March (6.30pm) that anyone can attend and speak if they have something new to say.  PINS has compiled a long list of queries, mainly to Roxhill, and many are about Air Quality. These are all on the PINS website. Notice of intention to speak must be sent to PINS by 5th March.

 

·        In its list of questions PINS has pointed out that the Governments long awaited ‘Clean Air Strategy’ was published in January and invites comments. You would expect that in the Transport section there would be some mention of the benefits for air quality of getting freight of the road and on to rail – which is the basis of Roxhill’s case - but there is no mention of this.

 

·        At previous Hearings, the Inspector’s took a close interest in is the proposed height of the warehouses opposite Collingtree. These will be 20 metres to eave level. As they move further up the slope they will seem higher. As a comparison, the eave height of the Clipper warehouse at J15 is 18 metres.

 




RAIL CENTRAL LATEST

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has now started the Examination process for the RAIL CENTRAL SFRI proposal. This will follow the same process as for ROXHILL NORTHAMPTON GATEWAY, but with a different Inspector and timetable. The two proposals adjoin –see attachment.

 

The Registration of Interest stage has now ended and comments are on the website. The date for the Examination to begin has not yet been announced. The link to the website is below:

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/east-midlands/rail-central-strategic-rail-freight-interchange/?ipcsection=relreps

 

 

For background on Rail Central see www.stoprailcentral.co.uk