An Extract from David Hewson’s 2007 Novel “SAVED – How an English village fought for its survival… and won”.
Where we saw beauty, they saw opportunity. Where we sought preservation and continuity they craved so-called modernity and change. They were masters of their universe, metropolitan men determined to shape it and profit from their labours as much as was humanly possible, paying lip service only to the environmental and human cost which was, in any case, invisible since they, almost to a man and woman, lived elsewhere. They wouldn’t have cared about the pain they caused. We were, to them, throwbacks, people of no importance, obstacles in the way of a greater future of cheap housing and mass commercial development, and money, money, money, most of all.
For them this land was a place to possess, master and exploit. For us it was a precious legacy to cherish, nurture and hand on in turn. These superior men of London, distant lords of so much that seemed of little importance to us, knew better. All that mattered was their own brief span, nothing else, not for a moment.
Welcome to the Stop Rail Central Action Group website which is supported by local residents and businesses. Stop Rail Central is committed to fighting Rail Central’s proposed RAIL FREIGHT INTERCHANGE between the Northamptonshire villages of Blisworth and Milton Malsor.
“Rail Central” is a privately owned commercial company in no way connected to Network Rail
STOP RAIL CENTRAL (SRC) has been formed with the sole purpose of
Clearly and rationally demonstrating why the proposed site between Milton Malsor and Blisworth is totally inappropriate for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (Rail Central)
STOP RAIL CENTRAL Action Group believes that
- IF there is a strategic need for such a major infrastructure project there are far more appropriate sites. The Developers (Ashfield Management Ltd) are a commercial company with the single motive of commercialising their assets for profit and focused solely on this site, not because it is the best location, but because they own parts of it
- the Developers are circumventing the local planning laws and consequently local policy and opinion by labelling this development as a Nationally Strategic Infrastructure Project when in reality it is just another logistics park with some limited capability to accept rail freight. The Developer has made past attempts to develop this land which have been rejected as they were (and still are) contrary to the adopted West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy Local Plan
- there is sufficient future capacity at DIRFT 3 (20 years) along with the recently approved Midlands Gateway such that very little interchange of rail freight will take place at Rail Central. This reinforces our contention that it will be little more than a road-based logistics park
- the local road network is totally inadequate to deal with the anticipated increased volume of traffic, not only from HGVs but also all the normal operational traffic that will be using the site on a daily (24 hour) basis. The sanctioning of increased traffic through the Blisworth conservation area with its primary school, single lane traffic (due to resident parking), complex junctions and narrow pavements would be negligent and reckless. With no direct link to the motorway and the reliance on the heavily congested A43 there is no contingency for HGVs other than for them to be routed through villages and down local roads
- the operation will create unacceptable light, air and noise pollution blighting the lives of at least two rural communities and endangering their health and well-being for evermore
- that the development is far from “sustainable” when you compare the potential carbon savings from the anticipated transfer to rail freight to the embodied and operational carbon footprint of the development itself. The Developer has been challenged to provide evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, it will be eradicating greenfield land rather than reclaiming brownfield land thus further reducing any benefits in carbon savings
- the granting of permission for this development will set a precedent so that further applications will be made for housing to support it. This will increase the erosion of the open countryside and accelerate the growth of the Northampton conurbation, exacerbating the existing local traffic congestion and pollution problems
- that the major benefit of local job creation is overplayed in an area of low unemployment and that the anticipated workforce will mostly commute from other areas further increasing the pressure on the local road networks (as outlined above). There will be negligible, if any, benefit to the local communities affected. Furthermore, the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) provides for a careful balance between jobs and housing. Unemployment is presently at only 1% to 2% and the JCS states that only 3 ‘strategic employment sites’ – at M1 Junction 16; Silverstone Circuit and DIRFT are needed. Rail Central, with 8,000 employees, would constitute a fourth such ‘strategic employment site’ thus upsetting the careful balance between jobs and homes
- the residents of local villages chose to live in a rural village community, not in the middle of a monstrous industrial facility and as such we will fight to preserve the quality of our lives, environment, and our health and to protect the value of our properties on which we depend for our future and that of our children and grandchildren