On the 31st March 2015 Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Committee approved its Framework Plan for the North of Luton. This plan includes the proposed Sundon Rail Freight Interchange (RFI) at Sundon Quarry. On examining the minutes of this meeting it was stated the Council had a letter from Network Rail confirming the connection of warehousing at this site to the Midland Mainline railway.
Network Rail’s Enhancements Delivery Plan identifies rail infrastructure projects to be completed within 5 year Control Periods (CP). The current control period CP5 covers 5 years from 2014 to 2019. Progress towards the completion of these projects is reported on annually. The most recent progress report was published in March 2015 at http://tinyurl.com/lsp5r7t . In January 2015 Network Rail published for consultation the rail infrastructure projects it intends to deliver on the Midland Mainline railway during CP6 2019 to 2024 at http://tinyurl.com/m28m8rl .
After examining Network Rail’s Plans we have become concerned the Council are misleading the public about the Sundon RFI. The reason for our concern is that on reviewing the list of approved CP5 projects and the list of proposed CP6 projects the connection of RFI warehousing to the Midland Mainline at Sundon Quarry is not part of either of these plans.
It is becoming increasingly apparent the Sundon RFI sponsored by Prologis will never be connected to the railway network. The lack of a connection to the rail network will increase vehicle movements to and from the site, reduce the nature and scale of its operation, and consequently reduce the number of jobs the Council says the RFI will create. Without these jobs the economic sustainability of the Council’s Development Strategy is called into question as these jobs were necessary to support planned population growth North of Luton and Houghton Regis.