Distribution centre wars have broken out in the region, with rail centre DIRFT near Daventry objecting to the big extensions planned for the neighbouring road-fed centre at Lutterworth’s Magna Park.
DIRFT’s developers Prologis say the Magna Park expansion plans conflict with the Government’s policy of giving priority to distribution sites served by rail.
And a letter to Harborough District Council sent on behalf of Prologis by planning consultant Justin Gartland, says the Magna Park enlargement plans “have the potential to undermine the delivery of the nationally significant Strategic Rail Freight Interchange at DIRFT”.
DIRFT’s backers argue that there is no evidence to support the need for any Magna Park expansion.
But Gwyn Stubbings, the planning director of IDI Gazeley, the owners of Magna Park, told the Mail yesterday (Wednesday) there was “significant demand” for road-based distribution facilities, supported by a recent Leicestershire county wide strategic distribution study.
He said: “Rail freight has an important role to play within the distribution sector, but on almost every occasion it forms only a part of the journey – road freight will almost always be necessary to get products to the people and businesses that need them.
“That is why there is no national policy that favours rail freight at the expense of much-needed road-based distribution facilities.”
There are three plans near Lutterworth to be considered by Harborough Council.
IDI Gazeley has submitted plans for a new 100,000 square metre distribution centre for DHL. And it wants a 500-acre expansion to the north of the current site, including the DHL scheme.
Meanwhile, Barwood Developments want an expansion called Symmetry Park, south-east of Magna Park.