Staffs Knot Green

Stop the Gailey Freight Hub


We can say that man's management of the land must be primarily orientated towards three goals - health, beauty, and permanence.   E.F. Schumacher, Economist.

A Consortium of one Landowner, a Freight Specialist and a Financier have put together an audacious proposal to create a "Strategic Rail Freight Interchange" on designated Greenbelt and green field agricultural land in South Staffordshire. It is bordered by  the M6 Motorway; the A5 Watling Street; the A449 Wolverhampton to Stafford Road; and Vicarage Road. Immediately affecting the South Staffordshire areas of Gailey / Four Ashes / Calf Heath  and indirectly the villages of Coven, Brewood and the historic market town of Penkridge. They have called this WMI or West Midlands Interchange.
It is not in the West Midlands but uses the title as a  marketing tool.
We have used the actual location as designation for the opposition - since that is where it is.

Navigate the rest of the site via the buttons on the left for latest news, background and critical issues.
Use the Jargon menu button on the left for definitions of Green Belt and other specialist terms.

The scale of the proposal is huge. Some 260 Hectares (643 acres) of green belt would be destroyed to site the huge warehouses, new road & rail links and commercial parking. The suggested thousands of workers would need to be bused in from elsewhere. (South Staffs has virtually no unemployment). Thousands of additional heavy lorries and vans would clog the already bursting local road system. Two new road islands with HGV lanes to generate traffic jams on the A5 and A449. Fourteen gigantic sheds up to 38 metres high (125 ft) !
Large lifting equipment, gantries and intense floodlighting are all part of scheme.
Noise from HGV movements, reversing sirens, Rail shunting, Lifting cranes, together with the warning sirens used for industrial traffic  ..... on a 24 hour basis.

A desire by government  to promote rail freight (now that coal transportation has almost disappeared) caused a piece of planning law to be published that allows proposals for rail served freight hubs (interchanges) of a certain size, to be classed as "strategic" and be determined by the Secretary of State (via his Planning Inspectorate) - bypassing the normal district and county council planning procedures. Unfortunately, by leaving the siting of these strategic developments to market forces and private investors, a number of completely inappropriate locations have been chosen in a dash to capitalise on this loophole.
The adjacent expansion of Four Ashes Industrial Estate (the Bericote site) and a mineral extraction scheme, also act as wedge driven into the green belt.

Initially there were two options for the site layout - exhibited in the hope of getting a preferred layout by the public!
After a private showing to Council Officers just before Christmas 2016, the layout shown below was advertised as the final proposal. (The high cost, central railway link option has been quietly shelved). It may change again in July 2017 when there is a Statutory Public Exhibition.
This project has been secretly prepared for many months before it was publicly revealed in the May 2016. Since then, there have been an informal pubic exhibitions in June/July to gauge and manipulate the public response.
Both the County Council and District Council have been aware of the project for some time before it was revealed to the public. Some members ...... much longer!
The timetable is for a formal (statutory) exhibition in July 2017 and the official application to the Secretary of State and Planning Inspectorate in November 2017.
(see Latest News for the most current dates)

The Existing and Proposed Plans - showing the huge scale and loss of Green Belt and Greenfield prime agricultural land). This is the December 2016 version.

ExistingSitePlan  ProposedSitePlan rev1

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