Lincolnshire

Spalding rail cargo depot debate prompted by petition

Eight hundred and fifty people have signed a petition which has prompted a new debate on the preferred site of a rail-freight hub in Lincolnshire.

The facility at Deeping St Nicholas, near Spalding, would enable producers to take their goods in and out of the region via rail.

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

South Holland District Council is to debate the petition on Wednesday.

'This will happen'

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.

But campaigner Jocelyn Kedzlie claimed the hub would have a negative impact on the local community.

"There is an absence of a business case. The food industry is dynamic, it's continually evolving and changing and this requires flexibility. Rail is not flexible," she said.

"There's 140 hectares that have been earmarked, the equivalent of 296 football pitches. It is causing a blight on people and properties."

Councillor Howard Johnson, portfolio holder for economic development at South Holland District Council, said it wanted to attract jobs to the area.

"If there isn't a business case private industry won't put up the money to do it. However, there is an amazing amount of interest.

"If I were a betting man my money would be on 'this will happen'."

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