Residents view new link roads proposed to ease traffic impact of Hinckley rail hub

A new link road and a village bypass have been put forward as options to ease the traffic impact of a proposed rail freight hub outside Hinckley. Residents have been viewing proposed highways developments to reduce the impact of the 440-acre Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange (HNRFI), at a second series of informal consultation events. The huge industrial park between the M69 and the Leicester to Birmingham railway line would include 850,000 square metres of buildings and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Initial plans said the hub would be serviced by a new sliproad on Junction 2 of the motorway, with many residents and councillors raising concerns during the first round of consultations about the traffic impact on villages and other main roads in the area. The new options presented by developer DB Symmetry include building a link road from Junction 2 through the site and over the railway line up to Leicester Road, which it would join near the sports clubs.

There are plans for a rail hub, industrial estate and new junction for M69 near Hinckley. Picture: Google Street View

This would create a ‘ring road’ around Hinckley, connecting the A5, M69 and A47 and reducing the need for traffic to go through the town centre, and easing the impact of bridge strikes on the rail bridge near Dodwells roundabout.

The developer said in a display board as part of the consultation: “The southern boundary of this road would need to carefully consider lighting measures, acoustic mitigation and landscaping proposals given its proximity to Burbage Common. “The A47 link will also include pedestrian and cycle provision, improving connectivity by these sustainable means between Hinckley, Barwell and Earl Shilton, and the HNRFI site.” The section of Leicester Road where the new link road would join it is already set for major developments, with plans approved for a GBP4.6 million crematorium to be built there.

DB Symmetry also presented plans for an Eastern Villages Link, which would either go between Stoney Stanton and Sapcote, from Stanton Lane to Broughton Road, or south of Sapcote from Hinckley Road to Sharnford Road. All three of the roads would be 3.7m-wide single carriageway routes.

Residents view new link roads proposed to ease traffic impact of Hinckley rail hubA map from the consultation documents for the proposed Hinckley rail hub showing the A47 link road and the Eastern Villages Link options.

Leicestershire County Council is one of the consultees for the rail hub, which is to be decided on by the Planning Inspectorate because of its national importance. A spokesperson for the authority said: “Our highways’ officers, along with colleagues from the relevant planning authorities and Highways England, are at a very early stage of discussions with DB Symmetry on their proposal for a strategic rail freight interchange at junction 2 of the M69.

“The developer has suggested a number of options for the scheme, and we’ll have a role as a consultee once a planning application and supporting transport evidence has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. “We are acutely aware of the challenges we have with congestion and capacity on the network which is why we are working to ensure the developer’s transport assessment is as robust as it can be. “Ultimately, we want assurances that the right mitigation is provided in the event that the Secretary of State gives consent to the development.”

Residents view new link roads proposed to ease traffic impact of Hinckley rail hubPlans for a rail hub, industrial estate and new junction for M69 near Burbage and Hinckley

Councillor David Bill, who represents Hinckley on the council, added: “The county council has commented on keeping traffic flowing around the area.

“Those of us who live here and who represent the area are as equally concerned about the environmental impact of what is being proposed.” South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa recently wrote to more than 11,000 of his constituents to get their views on the hub, as many residents had told him they were worried about the plans. The scheme has also attracted widespread opposition from the district and parish councils in the area.

Councillor Stuart Bray, who was recently elected leader of the now Liberal Democrat-controlled Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, said he will continue the authority’s opposition to the proposals. He said: “We are going to oppose as strongly as we can the depot, because it’s going to have a detrimental impact on Burbage Common and local roads. “We could end up with a rail freight depot operating 24/7.

We all know how bad the roads are, especially in Burbage; this will only make things worse.”

The full consultation documents are available to view on the HNRFI website.

You can contact DB Symmetry on the Community Information Line on 0844 556 3002, by emailing hinckleynrfi@lexcomm.co.uk, or in writing to DB Symmetry c/o Lexington Communications, Third Floor, Queens House, Queen Street, Manchester, M2 5HT.

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