New images show how controversial Bescot sleeper factory would look
It is a huge development that will create 100 jobs and see 600,000 rail sleepers created each year - and these new images show how the controversial factory would look.
Network Rail wants to build the facility at the Wednesbury and Walsall border but the plans have been met with fierce opposition from neighbours, who are concerned about how it will impact on their lives.
Residents are being invited to view detailed proposals at public information days on March 29 and 30, while flyers about the scheme will be sent to more than 7,000 homes.
People can also see the plans online and have until April 15 to provide feedback before a final planning application is submitted.
Rail bosses are keen to get residents on board after being forced to change the proposals due to the weight of local opposition. They say the creation of the Bescot sleeper factory will being a huge boost for Midlands manufacturing.
The sleeper facility has now been shifted 600 metres away from homes than in the original plans, while a new link road will be built to ease traffic fears. But some residents are still not happy.
Anthony Marley, from Network Rail, said: “The feedback we received in 2018 prompted us to pause and reflect on the proposals and consider how they could be revised to accommodate the suggestions of residents. We believe this new plan, which addresses key transport issues and the facility’s location, takes those suggestions on board, while maintaining the aspects of the development that make the Bescot site the best choice for the location of this facility.
“Bescot has been identified as the preferred location for the facility to make up for the anticipated shortfall in production capacity for sleepers in the coming years. It’s connectivity with rail and road networks, and status as a brownfield site is why it was selected by independent agents before the proposals were first prepared. We are committed to working with the local community as our plans progress and encourage residents to view these new plans and send in their comments.”
Developers will build a new link road that will take traffic to the facility direct from the A4031, rather than using residential roads.
Carol White, who is part of a group campaigning against the facility, encouraged anyone with concerns to make their views known.
She said: "We have been running this campaign for 14 months and have been distributing objection letters for people to fill in.
"They think it's ok to come here and put it at the bottom of people's gardens. It's appalling."
Plans will be available to view at Walsall's Banks's Stadium from 2pm-8pm on March 29 and 10am-2pm on March 30.