Planning Inspectorate to examine freight terminal plan
The Planning Inspectorate (PI) is to examine the Development Consent Order application for a proposed rail freight terminal in South Staffordshire.
Should the application for the West Midlands Interchange (WMI) at Gailey be approved, an intermodal terminal able to handle up to ten trains per day with around 743,000m2 of rail-served housing will be built alongside the West Coast Main Line between Wolverhampton and Stafford. It will have 775-metre reception sidings.
The developer, Four Ashes, claims the project could create more than 8,000 jobs and generate £427 million of economic activity each year locally and £912m nationally. Because the WMI constitutes a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, it is considered under the Planning Act 2008 rather than the normal town and country planning route.
The PI will invite stakeholders and the public to register their interest in participating in the examination. It will then set a timetable for the examination, which is expected to last six months.
The project has encountered opposition from local communities opposed to the possible environmental impact of construction, but the developers argue that there are no better locations for a rail freight terminal in the area.
If built, the terminal is expected to be running at full capacity by around 2035.