Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Alberto Costa Alberto Costa Conservative, South Leicestershire 4:00 pm, 11th February 2020

Local district councillor colleagues would certainly be concerned if an unhealthily high number of HGVs used existing roads. Clearly, the existing roads would not be sufficient to deal with the thousands of employees on the rat runs and the HGV traffic, much of which would no doubt use the smaller B-class roads rather than the A-class roads even though it is obliged to use A-class roads.

Blaby District Council has advised that many factors will need to be addressed in order for the proposal to avoid a formal objection. The site has no status in the council’s local plan, and therefore it has not been envisaged or planned for. The council is concerned about where the required employment would be sourced from and what provisions would be made to accommodate those employees. Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council is the other statutory consultee on the application and, although it is in the neighbouring constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Bosworth, I understand that it shares similar concerns.

I will now discuss my constituents’ views of the proposals. Considering the historic collective bonds in the Fosse villages that go back many years, it comes as little surprise that the vast majority of my constituents are opposed to the plans. Scarcely a day goes by when my inbox or my constituency office is not informed of a resident’s concern about the rail hub proposal. In order properly to gauge the strength of feeling among residents on the matter, last year I issued a survey to all residents in the Fosse villages. I received almost 2,000 responses in less than four weeks—a huge return for a survey of that nature.

Almost 80% of Fosse village respondents said that they were against the development, with impacts on local infrastructure and the environment being the predominant concerns. Furthermore, more than 83% responded that they thought it would be detrimental to their village’s identity.