Gailey Freight Hub: Two new parks and road promised as part of super rail hub
Two new parks and a public road are proposed in revised plans for a huge controversial rail freight hub in the Staffordshire countryside.
Bosses behind the 700-acre West Midlands Interchange near Gailey say the additions to the scheme come after more than 300 people responded to a consultation last year.
Developer Four Ashes Ltd has now launched a second consultation before applying for permission.
Detailed reports have been published online and a series of public exhibitions will take place next week.
Two new 'community parks' will be created – one near Calf Heath Village and Straight Mile to the south of the site and the other near Croft Lane off the A5.
Bosses have also committed to improving the canalside of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, which passes through the planned rail and warehouse depot site.
And they want to create a 'community fund' to support local projects.
A new road linking the A5 and the A449, which can be used by the public, will also be built aimed at cutting out pinch points at the Gailey roundabout and Station Drive.
There are three entrances and exits to the site from a new roundabout on the A5 between the Gailey roundabout and the junction 12 of the M6, a new roundabout on Stafford Road, and Vicarage Road.
Up to 8,550 new logistics jobs will be created, contributing £417 million to the local economy and £1.3bn nationally, bosses said.
The site will be about a third bigger than the i54 business park near Wolverhampton which is home to the £500m JLR engine plant.
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It is estimated more than 3,000 lorries and 6,000 cars and vans will travel to and from the site every day once fully running by 2035.
But residents have launched a campaign against the multi-million pound project. Ninety-nine per cent of those taking part in a local 'referendum', held by South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson, said they wanted planning permission refused.
They oppose the extra traffic, noise, and loss of countryside caused by the proposal.
Peter Frost, of Four Ashes Ltd, said: "The first consultation was very good and it has led to us making some significant changes which are aimed at benefiting the community, these include two new large community parks and a new road which will cut out pinch points to the A449 and the A5.
"Firstly, we are committed, if approved, to deliver a project that is to the highest possible standard. It is people's right to object but I ask them to engage with us so it is delivered in the nest possible way.
"Secondly, we accept this is a national infrastructure project and that this will lead to considerable change. I would ask people to consider the economic impact and what it will do for employment in South Staffordshire and the Black Country. It will have a very big impact for a long, long time."
Developers also looked at and ruled out eight other locations in the region, including the closed Rugeley Power Station, the former Royal Ordinance Factory site in Featherstone, and at Dunston and Creswell on the southern and northern fringe of Stafford.
Mr Frost said: "The site at Four Ashes is the only viable site. It is important that we looked at other sites and demonstrated why this is the best site. There is a huge demand for warehousing and there is virtually no capacity at present.
"That means means businesses and jobs are not coming here but going elsewhere like the East Midlands. That is lost economic activity for the Black Country and South Staffordshire."
The latest plans propose banning HGVs from the site will be banned from going through Penkridge, as revealed by the Express & Star last year.
But bosses have admitted there will be extra noise for nearby residents.