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People with views or objections on the proposed Hinckley National Rail Freight Terminal (HNRFI) can now register them with the Government Planning Inspector.
The Government Planning Inspector will examine the proposal then recommend to the Secretary of State whether or not the development should go ahead.
The proposed HNRFI would form a large-scale new rail freight interchange on land just outside the boundary of Hinckley Borough, based in Blaby District and next to Burbage Common. It would be located to the east of the railway line and to the west of the M69.
Proposals include logistics and warehousing, which would total up to 850,000 square metres of new floorspace. Also included in proposals are some highway improvements, which are within Hinckley and would affect the B4668 Leicester Road. The A47 would also be affected by the proposals as a new link road is planned from junction 2 of the M69 across to the A47.
The proposal is of such a large scale that it is treated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. It must therefore be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) – appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport - who will then consider the proposals. The Planning Inspectorate will then advise the Secretary of State for Transport, who will make the final decision on whether to approve or refuse it.
The application cannot be determined by the Borough Council. However, the Borough Council, alongside Blaby District Council and Leicestershire County Council, does have a significant part to play in providing the PINS with information, comments and views about the proposal.
Following a lengthy planning process, the Planning Inspectorate has now accepted the proposal for examination. Members of the public and other bodies (including the Borough Council) have until 23 June to register as ‘Interested Parties’. After doing this, they can then submit ‘relevant representations’ by completing the requirements set out on the Planning Inspectorate website (GOV.UK)
The Planning Inspectorate is expected to open the Examination in July or August 2023. It can take up to six months for this process to be completed. After the Examination period, the Planning Inspectorate has three months in which to make their recommendation to the Secretary of State; he or she then has a further three months in which to make their decision.
Councillor Paul Williams, Chairman of the Council’s HNRFI Member Working Group, said:
“This enormous warehouse/rail facility on our doorstep is now going to be considered on its merits by a Government Inspector, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport. To submit your views/objections on this proposal, it's essential that residents and local bodies register before the 23 June 2023. Registering will allow further representations to be made as the examination process proceeds. It is essential that when registering you make a summary of the areas of concern you may have and provide the brief reasons behind these concerns."
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