West Midlands Interchange given go-ahead despite four-year protest

A huge rail hub in South Staffordshire has been given the go-ahead despite a four-year protest from some residents, including Education Secretary and South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson. Campaigners are worried that the development will destroy the countryside and lead to traffic chaos. However developers say it could create up to 8,500 new jobs, as well as ease HGV congestion on some of the region's busiest roads.

The West Midlands Interchange will see around 700 acres of land transformed near to the A5, A449 and M6 at Gailey, Four Ashes and Calf Heath. The rail hub would be linked directly to the West Coast Mainline and allow freight to be moved from rail to lorries. The application for the development was approved on Monday by Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps.

The Planning Inspectorate is committed to giving local communities the opportunity of being involved in the examination of projects that may affect them.

Local people, the local authority and other interested parties were able to participate in a 6-month long examination.

The Examining Authority listened and gave full consideration to local views before making their recommendation."

- Sarah Richards, The Planning Inspectorate's Chief Executive

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