Residents continue to get in touch with me to raise their concerns about Roxhill’s proposed strategic rail freight interchange north-west of junction 15 of the M1, and I would welcome comments or queries from anyone in the local area who may be affected. I submitted feedback via letter to the developer’s initial consultation on behalf of residents, and I have now received Roxhill’s response. You may read a copy of their letter here.
Chris Heaton-Harris MP and I met last week in my office with representatives from Roxhill to discuss their proposals, the impact on the local area, and what their next steps would be. Those who are similarly concerned about Ashfield Land’s Rail Central development will be aware that I have been working residents of Blisworth to put their concerns forward, so I am very familiar with the background to national freight policy, the requirements for an SRFI in any one area, and the anxieties that communities feel about these projects.
Whilst I highlighted the concerns that I raised on the behalf of local residents in my initial consultation submission, Roxhill were keen to point out a number of benefits that they feel they had identified for the area. In particular they are committed to providing a rebuild of junction 15A and a bypass for Roade. They have also undertaken to explore realistic park and ride schemes to get workers on and off site, as well as considering how they could work with other partners in the area to bring a train station back to Roade.
Most interestingly, they have spoken of a “ransom strip” of land encircling their site with ownership transferred to a public body (possibly South Northamptonshire Council) to future-proof the area from an expansion of development to the west. This would, if done correctly, prevent any future building on the green space.
However, I made absolutely clear – as did Chris – that local residents are utterly unconvinced that there are any tangible benefits to them for having an SRFI in their area and, as the developers, it would behove them to have an open conversation with the affected communities about what mitigation and compensation residents might require should this development proposal be taken forward.
As always, please do get in touch with me if I can be of any help on this or any other matter.