Further to my last blog post on the proposed strategic rail freight interchange between Blisworth and Milton Malsor, Rail Central, I wanted to provide a quick update to local residents and the wider community – many of whom I know are concerned about the proposals.
I have now had two meetings with Claire Perry MP, the Rail Minister, where I have had the opportunity to talk through some of the concerns that have been raised by constituents who have been in touch with me.
The three main points, as I see it at this stage, are:
- the developer Ashfield Land seems to have bought the land / obtained option agreements and are therefore looking for a project that they can develop;
- local residents are highly concerned about the implications of the proposed site and the blight that might hang over their heads for years;
- there is existing capacity at the nearby Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, which is undergoing expansion via DIRFTIII, and the East Midlands Gateway Rail Freight Interchange which was granted a development consent order last month.
Claire has undertaken to look into these issues with her officials and to provide me with further information as soon as she can; I will, of course, make sure that local residents are aware of what she comes back with.
I must stress however that, because Claire may well be involved in the decision-making process if the application were to go to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration, she cannot comment on the merits of the proposals themselves.
I will continue to liaise with Claire on the specific issues that are raised so that Blisworth and others can approach this from an informed perspective, and I look forward to meeting again with the local action group. I am also still anticipating meeting with the developers, Ashfield Land, in the near future to raise local concerns directly.