The Planning Inspectorate’s examination of Roxhill’s Northampton Gateway strategic rail freight interchange application has now closed, and all Interested Parties should have received a formal notification of this.
I know that this process has been traumatic for many people involved, with great uncertainty about the outcome as well as around whether the proposed site was suitable in the first place. I am very grateful to everyone who has spoken to me, written to me, or emailed me with their concerns about the SRFI, and I have done everything I can over the last two or so years to represent these at every level. You can follow my efforts in the dedicated SRFI section of my website.
I would also pay tribute to the hard work of those residents, parish councils, and action groups who have done so much to coordinate local opinion on the Northampton Gateway proposal, whilst also considering the adjoining Rail Central application by Ashfield Land. There have been substantial amounts of documentation involved with both, and it is no mean feat to have studied the various issues in the level of detail that many people have.
Now, for Northampton Gateway, we enter into a waiting period. The Examining Authority – led by Philip Asquith – now has three months in which to write its Recommendation Report on whether to grant or not grant a Development Consent Order, and to submit this to the Secretary of State for Transport. The Transport Secretary will then have a further three months to make a decision on the DCO.
So, playing that forward, we’re looking at a decision no later than the 9th October 2019.
Once the decision has been made, it will be published on the PINS website along with the ExA’s Recommendation Report, and all Interested Parties will be notified of the decision.
There is no right of appeal against a decision by the Secretary of State on a DCO made for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project like an SRFI, although applications can be made for a Judicial Review should any party wish to.
I will update residents as and when matters progress, and I continue to monitor the Rail Central proposal. We should expect a decision from PINS on whether a deferment on that application will be granted within the next few days.
As ever, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns about either Northampton Gateway or Rail Central.