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A previous application by Roxhill for a 2.67m sq ft Distribution Centre was withdrawn after widespread opposition.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 latest round of Examination Hearings on the Roxhill application ended on 14th March with an Open Floor Hearing at the Hilton Hotel, for the public. Other hearings have been dominated by Lawyers and technical consultants acting for the developer.

Thanks to all from who attended. It would have been good to have had more local people from the affected villages in the audience but there were some excellent presentations covering the impact on air quality, noise, traffic, ecology and landscape as well as the lack of a viable business case for a Rail Freight Interchange in this location – with DIRFT just up the motorway.

The Inspectors seemed surprised to learn at the Open Floor Hearing that Northamptonshire County Council has just voted to oppose both Roxhill and the similar proposal from Rail Central. This is helpful and follows Northampton Borough Council asking the Government to review the location policy for these Rail Freight Interchanges.

Our belief is that these are ‘trojan horse’ applications where warehouse developments are dressed up as strategic infrastructure in order to bypass the normal planning process. Matters have been complicated by Rail Central now seeking a delay to their application to carry out more traffic assessments. This means that it now difficult for Inspector’s to assess the ‘cumulative impact’ on the area if BOTH applications get approval.

There are 2 more stages to the Examination allowing for further submissions on 19th and 26th March. The Examination stage formally closes on 9th April. The Examiners then have 3 months to consider the material and evidence submitted and then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, (at the moment Chris Grayling !)

He then has 3 months to either agree or disagree with the Planning Inspectorate's recommendations. We expect know the outcome in October. If it is opposed to the Application, then Roxhill have 6 weeks to make an appeal.

You can follow progress on the Planning Inspectorate website:

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/…/north…/

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RAIL CENTRAL LATEST

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) had 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.

However, the Developers, Ashfield Land, have now asked for a delay to the Examination so that they can carry out further traffic assessments. The Planning Inspectorate has not yet responded.

 

 

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