Spalding rail cargo depot petition calls rejected

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Calls to reconsider the preferred site for a rail-freight hub in Lincolnshire have been rejected by councillors.

The proposed hub would enable producers to take their goods in and out of the region via rail.

An 850-signature petition asked the council to re-examine its decision to make Deeping St Nicholas, near Spalding, the preferred site.

However, South Holland District Council voted to reject the request at a meeting on Wednesday.

Councillor Howard Johnson, portfolio holder for economic development at South Holland District Council, said: "We believe there is a solid and compelling case that a rail freight interchange will bring jobs and businesses to South Holland.

"Better transport is vital to the future economic well-being of the district and a proposed rail freight interchange at Deeping St Nicholas would play a crucial role to that end.

"Not only will it help retain our major food sector employers but it will attract more firms and jobs to the area."

'Significant flaws'

Campaigners claim the site would not serve the needs of local businesses and would cause a "blight" on the area.

Jocelyn Kedzlie, from campaign group Rally Against Industrialisation of our Landscape, said those against the depot in Deeping St Nicholas would now refer the matter to the local ombudsman.

"The outcome was what I anticipated," she said.

"It doesn't dishearten me. We've done what we can on a local level.

"We feel there were significant flaws in the consultation process. We feel the whole subject has been railroaded through by the council."

Plans for the Spalding International Food Hub were unveiled in December 2009 and the preferred site announced by the council in March 2010.

It was hoped it would attract £200m in investment, move 10% of the county's lorry journeys to rail and create hundreds of jobs.

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