Following the release of Blaby District Council’s initial consultation response regarding the Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council, has once again reiterated his significant concerns with the proposals.
Councillor Richardson said: “In my view this latest public consultation is deeply flawed, and I once again feel compelled to reiterate my frustration at this process and how it has been approached by Tritax.
From the very outset the consultation was weak. It did not give accurate information on which residents can make informed comments and I am troubled that the promoter is considering continuing on regardless of these concerns and submitting the application to the Planning Inspectorate.
One of the biggest concerns I have from the consultation is the transport modelling. The public was asked to feed back on something that was not agreed with the County Council and has not been accepted by them. How can the Council and the public offer a view on something that will inevitably change in future?
I am still concerned about the planned increase in barrier downtime at Narborough level crossing, and the associated air quality, traffic and noise impacts on the local communities of Narborough and Littlethorpe. The impacts of these proposals stretch far across our district and frankly I am nowhere near to being satisfied with what has been presented to us.
I have recently written to the Secretary of State for Transport who will be making this decision, outlining the significant worries I have over both the proposals and the consultation. This also includes the perplexing situation in which this Council needs to undertake a significant amount of work at a significant cost to scrutinise one of the largest developments ever seen in the district, but with no guaranteed financial assistance to do so as we receive no application fee from the promoter.
Instead, we must enter into complex and lengthy negotiations with a promoter who is hardly likely to want to agree extensive funding to ensure we can properly scrutinise their own proposals.
I have also written to Leicestershire County Council to ask them to consider responding to the wider issues of the development not just those raised in their capacity as a highways authority. The potential impacts of this proposal are vast and affect thousands of residents in both Blaby District and Hinckley and Bosworth. There are a wide range of topic areas for this development that come with huge potential harms, including to health, climate change, landscape, and connectivity to name but a few.
I firmly believe that given the scale of impacts this proposal presents to our communities, wider County Council scrutiny will increase the likelihood the scheme is rejected by the Secretary of State and will reduce the resulting harms if it is ultimately approved.
I know that Blaby District Council will continue to fight for residents in the critical months ahead and I want to express my commitment that this issue, and properly scrutinising these proposals is of the upmost importance to myself and relevant officers.”