Dr Luke Evans, the Member of Parliament for Bosworth, spoke out about his grave concerns with the proposed Hinckley Rail Freight Interchange at the open hearing with the Planning Inspectorate.
He urged the independent Planning Inspectorate not to recommend the application goes ahead due to the multiple agencies who had cited lack of information and concerns around modelling that the project was based on.
The proposed Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange risks being built in the neighbouring constituency of South Leicestershire, represented by Alberto Costa, but would impact on Burbage Common and residents of Hinckley and Bosworth.
The two local Members of Parliament, Dr Luke Evans and Alberto Costa, have been vociferous in their opposition of the proposal on environmental and infrastructure grounds. Both MPs have repeatedly raised concerns on the impact of the Rail Freight Interchange with Ministers and local councils, surveyed thousands of residents and complained over the developer’s handling of public consultations and the lack of information provided to statutory consultees.
More worryingly, the GP-turned-MP used much of his allotted time to stress the numerous deficits raised by Leicestershire County Council, Rugby Council, Warwickshire County Council and National Highways in their own assessments of the applicant’s proposal. All organisations raised concerns over missing or deficient transport documents and statements of common ground.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Luke Evans, Member of Parliament for Bosworth, said “How can the [Planning Inspectorate] pass judgment when the very statutory bodies it relies on are, themselves, unable to do so due to insufficient information provided by the applicant?
“I put to you, that through the applicants’ actions – or lack of – you cannot, and must not, recommend this application.”
The Planning Inspectorate is currently examining the application, and will then have three months to decide on what recommendation to make to the Secretary of State for Transport who will make a decision on the 662-acre rail hub based on the Examining Authority’s recommendation.
After the meeting Dr Evans MP added “Throughout this whole process the developer has appeared to dodge and duck key questions, whether it’s on traffic mitigation or the impact of this huge buildings on our environment. Missing information, concerns on modelling and lack of time to do details assessments, all risk this proposal being based on a false premise.
“Everyday people across our area wait patiently as traffic clogs up the roads and tolerate lorries using our villages as rat runs. This proposal does not put us on a path to progress; it's a recipe for even more congestion and chaos.
“Further still, Burbage Common is a place where friends meet, families explore and people exercise. It is unique in our area and cannot be recreated. Whatever happens with this proposal, we must do all we can to ensure it is protected for future generations to enjoy as we have.
“Currently, people in our area do not feel that this process is happening with their concerns in mind. They feel it is being foist upon them by a developer who didn’t even care enough to put out seats for older residents struggling to stand for long periods of time.
“At every opportunity to involve the community, from the public consultations to these hearings, Tritax Symmetry have shown disregard for local people, to which I have raised formal complaints in the past. It simply hasn’t been good enough and I hope the Planning Inspectorate is taking note.”