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Strategic Management - Briefing Paper for the Minister

By:   •  April 13, 2018  •  Term Paper  •  1,811 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,014 Views

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The purpose of this note is to inform Rail Minister of the assessment for the construction of Strategic Rail Interchange project submitted by Four Ashes Ltd. near the village of Gailey to the south of Stafford. The project is classified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (‘NSIP’) proposed for West Midlands Interchange.


Pursuant to the Planning Act 2008 – Section 46, Planning Act 2008 – Section 14(1) (I) that constitute NSIP for a ‘rail freight interchange’, and the need for the development of Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges as specified in National Policy Statement for National Networks pursuant to Section 9(8) and Section 5(4) of the Planning Act 2008, in July 2017, Four Ashes Limited has proposed a project for rail freight interchange applied for West Midlands Interchange.

The project includes the construction of an intermodal rail freight terminal with connections to the West Coast Main Line (WCML), container storage and associated Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) parking (The Planning Inspectorate, 2016); 800,000m2 of rail served warehousing; new road infrastructure; a new principle access from the A5 into the site; landscaping and demolition of existing structures within the site if necessary (The Planning Inspectorate, 2016). The proposed development for the project includes two layout options referred to as ‘West Terminal Option’ and ‘East Terminal Option’.

The plan for development has drawn much criticism from a group of local residents regarding various issues and they have expressed their concern for project with member of Parliament for assessment of this NSIP.


For any NSIP, it must follow a specific planning process before getting approval, and for large infrastructure projects like one proposed by Four Ashes Limited, the longest time for processing will be within 14 months (National Structure Planning, 2012). The process is as follows:

  1. Pre-application

In this stage, initial consultation will take place.

  1. Acceptance

In this stage, the plan and its application are accepted for examination.

  1. Pre-examination

In this stage, people register to take part in the Examination and the Examining Authority is appointed and outlines how Examination process will be conducted.

  1. Examination

This stage will last for a 6-month period when evidence is submitted and challenged.

  1. Decision

In this stage, the Secretary of State makes a decision based on the report submitted by the Examining Authority.

  1. Post-decision

After a decision is made, a judicial review will be allowed for 6 weeks.

(Better Transport UK, 2015) (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2015)


Consultation on early design options for the scheme starts on Monday June 13 and will run until Sunday July 24 (West Midlands Interchange, 2017). Four Ashes Limited is encouraging interested members of the public and businesses to have their say at this early stage in the project’s development (South Staffordshire Council, 2017). However, the involved stakeholders do have differing view regarding their project (West Midlands Interchange, 2017).

[pic 1]

While most of the Local Residents are doubting about the project and expressed opposed concern for the plan, they are the one that have little influence on the execution of the project.

Rail Minister is one key stakeholder that has yet demonstrated full support given how knowledge of the project has not been studied at deep enough extent.

The Government is the one that have power over the decision regarding the NSIP, and encourages such project to improve the quality of infrastructure.

Employees of Four Ashes Limited are in high support of the program with much knowledge and little influence.


The quality of West Midlands Interchange Project is personally perceived as Acceptable, though this NSIP project needs to update some of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) elements (Planning Inspectorate, 2016) with regards to Air Quality, Noise and Vibration and Water Environment.

The concern from local residents that are affected directly by the project revolves around the environmental impact and necessity of the project to the residents (West Midlands Interchange, 2017), though both aspects are assured good quality for development as per the below evidence.


Green infrastructure and environment

The project proposes a green infrastructure plan to make sure that adequate amount of land is provided for amenity space and landscaping, represented by community park areas in the Calf Heath Village and Straight Mile area to the south, and for the Croft Lane area in the north. Suitable buffering zones (30m – 50m wide) located around the perimeter of the site proves the feasibility of the structure.

Sustainable ecology strategy

The project’s ecology strategy includes wildlife corridors and habitat considerations, which fully supports the green infrastructure in a suitable manner. Therefore, it will address to suitable extents the concern for the new project

Necessity of the project

The proposed layout for the scheme has addressed the current weaknesses of the rail system with suitable design to improve it. A full length terminal allows a more efficient layout which spreads unloading activity along the length of the rail line rather than concentrating it towards the south of the site. The longer terminal also removes the need to break up train loads, reduces shunting and thereby reduces noise.


  1. Discuss with Rail Minister, NSIP Committee and Four Ashes Limited representatives to understand the project for West Midlands Interchange and agree on the necessity of the project or points that are not suitable.
  2. Conduct a survey for feedback from local residents.
  3. Organise a workshop/event to demonstrate the project to the residents.
  4. Get feedback after the knowledge event.
  5. Conduct second round of project evaluation.


Better Transport UK, 2015. The Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project planning process. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 4 April 2018].

Department for Communities and Local Government, 2015. Housing and Planning Bill: Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and Housing Briefing Note. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 5 April 2018].

National Structure Planning, 2012. The Process. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 2 April 2018].

Planning Inspectorate, 2016. West Midlands Interchange: Formal EIA Scoping Opinion Request. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 8 April 2018].

South Staffordshire Council, 2017. West Midlands Interchange. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1 April 2018].

The Planning Inspectorate, 2016. Scoping Opinion Proposed West Midlands Interchange. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 2 April 2018].

West Midlands Interchange, 2017. About. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 8 April 2018].

West Midlands Interchange, 2017. Plans unveiled for new West Midlands rail interchange to boost region’s economy. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 2 April 2018].

West Midlands Interchange, 2017. Public’s views sought on West Midlands Interchange. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 2 April 2018].


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