IWA rails against freight ter­mi­nal

GRAND UNION

Canal Boat - - News -

A PRO­POSED NEW rail freight ter­mi­nal in Northamp­ton­shire would “ir­re­vo­ca­bly dam­age the im­me­di­ate canal en­vi­ron­ment”, ac­cord­ing to the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion’s Northamp­ton Branch.

The eight mil­lion square-foot Rail Cen­tral scheme would oc­cupy most of the land be­tween Blis­worth and Mil­ton Mal­sor, in­clud­ing the length of the Grand Union main line from near Blis­worth vil­lage to Gay­ton Junc­tion and the Northamp­ton Arm from the junc­tion for some dis­tance to­wards Rother­sthorpe Locks.

The plans have also gen­er­ated con­sid­er­able lo­cal op­po­si­tion. While the wa­ter­ways lobby can claim an ear­lier lo­cal suc­cess in get­ting the 1980s A43 plans al­tered to re­duce the im­pact on the canal, this is on a dif­fer­ent scale: the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion is likely to be made by cen­tral Govern­ment which sup­ports trans­fer of long-dis­tance freight to rail. BULBOURNE WORK­SHOP, WHICH used to build lock gates, is to be re­de­vel­oped into new hous­ing – but the his­toric build­ings are to be re­tained, and the Canal & River Trust is ask­ing for com­ments on the plans.

Closed down when Bri­tish Wa­ter­ways ra­tio­nalised its work­shops in 2003, part of the site along­side the Grand Union’s Tring sum­mit re­mained an op­er­a­tional yard for CRT, while part has been used as a sculp­ture and black­smithing work­shop, but the ma­jor­ity is va­cant and the her­itage struc­tures are in need of in­vest­ment.

The plans by CRT’s H2O joint ven­ture in­clude con­vert­ing the listed build­ings to liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion, build­ing new hous­ing, a new foot­bridge and re­ten­tion of the CRT de­pot. See bul­bour­ne­yard.co.uk.

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