Since late 2015, informal and formal consultation has played an important role in the development of the proposals, informing changes to the plans and helping to make the scheme better. The breadth of the consultation is summarised on this page and scheme changes are summarised here.
The NSIP planning process specifically required Ashfield Land and Gazeley GLP (as the applicants for Rail Central) to carry out statutory consultation as defined by a document called a Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC). The SoCC prescribed how, when and where consultation will take place, ensuring that it is straightforward for people who want to participate, whatever their views. South Northamptonshire Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council were consulted on the SoCC and provided input to the proposed approach. The comprehensive programme of public consultation was delivered in line with the requirements of the NSIP planning process.
Three rounds of consultation on Rail Central have taken place. In April to October 2016 we held our first phase of formal public consultation, during which we held a series of public exhibitions and invited feedback on our draft plans. We then updated the plans and published them at a second phase of formal consultation, which took place between 15 March and 23 April 2018. A further phase – known as Phase 2a: Localised Consultation – took place between 25 June and 23 July 2018.
Phase One formal consultation
The Rail Central team has carried out extensive consultation with stakeholders since 2015, including the local community, county, borough and parish councils and statutory consultees. In April 2016, the initial draft plans for Rail Central were presented to the public at a series of public exhibitions, which formed part of a statutory process of community consultation known as Phase One Consultation. As part of that consultation, we published updated illustrative plans and new visual material in summer 2016. This first phase of consultation ended on 21 October 2016.
Feedback from Phase One consultation helped us to shape the plans, contributing to the design process alongside the outputs of our technical work and surveys. We also carried out and completed a full spectrum of technical work, such as ground surveys, environmental and ecological assessments and highways assessments to inform the development of the plans.
Consultation with key stakeholders has been ongoing on an informal basis through regular meetings to update on our technical work and to respond to any queries. We are continuing to engage with local communities and their representatives.
Phase Two formal consultation
Phase Two consultation took place between 15 March and 23 April 2018.
At this consultation Ashfield Land and Gazeley GLP showed how the plans have developed since the earlier round of consultation (Phase One). This website and the public exhibition panels (available in the project library) provide an introduction to the project and explain Ashfield Land and Gazeley GLP’s approach to managing key issues such as access, highways and the environment. A number of additional documents were published as part of this consultation and are available in the project library of this website. These included the:
- Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR), Non-technical summary and technical appendices
- Draft Planning Statement and draft Design and Access Statement
- Parameters Plan, Illustrative Master Plan, and Illustrative Landscape and Ecological Master Plan
- Land Plans
Phase 2a: Localised Consultation
Following the close of Phase 2 Consultation, the development proposals were amended and refined in response to feedback and the findings of recent technical work. A number of these changes responded to opportunities to minimise adverse impacts from the proposed development.
In accordance with the Government’s guidance on pre-application consultation process, we undertook proportionate further localised consultation in relation to the amendments and refinements of the proposed development. The localised consultation was undertaken on a basis that is proportionate to the proposed changes and took place with potentially affected parties.
Phase 2a consultation took place between 25 June and 23 July 2018.
The updated materials for consultation were published in a plans pack which is available in the project library or on request from the project team. A feedback form was also published. Please note that the consultation was focused solely on this set of latest amendments.