Plans for huge rail freight hub between Etwall and Egginton 'moving closer'
SEVERN Trent expects to submit a planning application this summer to build a massive rail freight terminal in Derbyshire, a councillor has claimed.
The water company had put its plans for 619 acres of land between Etwall and Egginton on the back burner during the recession.
It had expected to sign a contract with a developer for the scheme in April last year, the first sign of progress since 2009.
The company has now admitted that this did not happen and that, though it was committed to the project, it was still working to "secure the right partner".
With every new aerial installed by AMC aerials I will fit an extra point in your bedroom or kitchen for an extra £10
New aerials fitted from £70
Call Adrian on 01332 418856
Terms: Must be an aerial supplied and fitted by AMC aerials
Contact: 01332 418856
Valid until: Friday, July 12 2013
But Etwall Parish Council chairman Lisa Brown said a director of Severn Trent had told her the firm was confident of making a planning application in the near future.
She said: "I know they were in serious discussions with partners who have done projects like this before. It's conjecture, but I believe the contract with the developer may be down to dotting Is and crossing Ts."
Mrs Brown said she understood that a planning application was "likely" in the summer.
She said: "Serious pre-planning application work, environmental studies etc, is about to start."
The development, which could create 2,000 jobs, is significant enough nationally that the planning application is expected to go to the Infrastructure Planning Commission, a Government body that deals with extremely large developments.
Asked about the developer contract, a Severn Trent spokeswoman said: "Etwall Land Ltd, a subsidiary company of Severn Trent Plc, remains committed to the development of its land holding at Etwall.
"With this in mind, we are continuing to work hard to secure the right partner that will assist us in driving this significant project through the planning process.
"With a scheme of this size and investment, it is essential that all the elements that are needed for a partnership agreement of this nature have been considered.
"However, we are very hopeful that the contract will be completed in the near future".
The revival of Severn Trent's plans last year dismayed local campaigners.
Jenny Bannister, who can see the site from her house, said the view of rolling meadows was one of the reasons she moved to Etwall Road, Egginton, 25 years ago, and that this would be destroyed by the terminal.
She said she had hoped the proposals had been "kicked into the long grass".
Mrs Bannister said: "I thought it had died a death. It all calmed down and I thought they hadn't got the funding so I'm shocked to hear they're now looking for a developer.
"The noise level, the impact on the environment and the wildlife will all be terrible. This area is being ruined by industry."
John Forkin, managing director of city promotion group Marketing Derby, previously said thousands more jobs could be created by the terminal on top of the 2,000.
He said: "When I work with investors interested in coming to Derby, one of the first questions they ask is where the nearest rail hub is.
"Derby is in the middle of the country and businesses want to get products to the ports."