Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Opening Salvo In War For New Kent Multi Modal Freight Terminal

Battle Lines Drawn as Two Sites Vie for Development
Shipping News Feature

KENT – ENGLAND – The complex struggle for any new development in the “Garden of England” always produces a series of contentious arguments, and the fight to site a proposed new cargo terminal in the heart of the county which surfaced this week is no exception.

In 2007 the Kent International Gateway Group put forward their proposal to construct a rail freight terminal and logistics park near Bearsted. The site lies between the existing rail line and the M20 motorway and as such would seem ideally situated for such a project. The proposal naturally met with stiff local opposition as the area is a typical Kentish stretch of countryside, and a Public Enquiry has begun after an initial review by Maidstone Borough Council.

A further tranche of opposition has now arrived in the form of the Kent Rail & Freight Terminal Group (KRAFT), who invited journalists and television crews to the site which they feel should be preferable to the Bearsted site. They are promoting their own scheme at Borough Green Sandpits, just a few miles west of the original location, arguing that the area, near Sevenoaks, is more suited to industrial development. The Borough Green scheme would cover 250 acres and utilise the now defunct diggings at its core.

Local resident Mr John Herbert said, “Bearsted has been chosen simply for its geographical location but it contains a typically Kentish mix of agriculture and woodland. Borough Green has a more direct link with previous industry but is probably not so well positioned. From Bearsted, lorries can move directly into the motorway system as it has proved with the new Morrison’s distribution site located near the foot of the new Sheppey bridge, a scheme considered a success locally.”

Nothing has ever stopped this type of development in Kent since the inception of the Eurostar facility. There has always been a inclination toward this type of multi modal depot and logistically it ticks all the boxes with Dover and the Eurotunnel providing access to the European markets.