Bescot sleeper factory plans to be finally submitted
Plans for a controversial sleeper factory in Walsall will be submitted this month, it was today confirmed following a delay of almost two months.
Network Rail wants to build the facility, which will create 100 jobs and see 600,000 rail sleepers created each year, at the Bescot sidings freight yard.
But the plans, for land on the Wednesbury and Walsall border, have been met with fierce opposition from neighbours, who are concerned about how it will impact their lives.
The official planning application for the Friar Park factory was meant to be submitted back in May but Network Rail has finally confirmed it will be sent in at the end of July.
Bosses say the delay was due to collating feedback on the plans from local people and Sandwell Council.
Residents have expressed concerns over an increase in traffic and air pollution.
The weight of opposition was so severe that Network Rail bosses ended up changing plans to shift the whole development 600 metres further away.
But it still didn’t calm neighbours to the site, which is alongside the M6 southbound just south of Junction 9.
Leader of Walsall Council Mike Bird said he hoped Network Rail would work closely with planning officers in both Sandwell and Walsall to achieve the best outcome for all.
He said: “The only way to decide on this is to look at all options. While the planning application will create jobs we have to take all issues that come with it into account.”
An information event was held at Banks's Stadium back in March, hosted by Network Rail in an attempt to get locals on their side.
Bosses have said the creation of the Bescot sleeper factory will being a huge boost for Midlands manufacturing.