Scrap freight depot plan, residents demand
Irate residents have overwhelmingly called for plans to build a freight depot on 700 acres of land near Wolverhampton to be scrapped.
A huge 99 per cent of respondents to a consultation organised by MP Gavin Williamson insisted they were against the West Midlands Interchange, which could be built at Gailey in South Staffordshire.
It comes as Mr Williamson held crunch talks with South Staffordshire Council bosses to share his concerns ahead of the hugely controversial planning application being submitted.
The South Staffordshire MP, who is also the Government's Defence Secretary, said the depot could be 'potentially devastating and damaging' for the area.
Around 1,400 people responded to his consultation after leaflets were posted around Hatherton, Four Ashes, Coven and Shareshill, with the vast majority stating the hub was not wanted.
The rail and warehouse depot, put forward by Four Ashes Ltd, promises to generate £420 million for the local economy and bring more than 8,500 jobs.
But hundreds of residents are trying to fight the scheme - and have the MP in their corner.
There are fears about thousands of extra vehicles clogging up roads, particularly on the A449. The loss of green belt land and damage to the distinct identity of surrounding villages have also been cited.
Four Ashes has said it will take the views of locals into account before submitting a full application, which is expected within months.
But Mr Williamson said the plan should be scrapped.
He said: “I had a really productive meeting with officers at South Staffordshire Council to discuss the potentially devastating and damaging proposals to build a rail freight interchange on green belt land.
"As I have said many times before, I believe that the development would create a substantial increase in noise, sound and air pollution, a massive increase in traffic and consequently have a huge impact on residents in the surrounding villages. I have campaigned with local residents against this awful proposal and I will continue to do so until it is thrown out."