Cllr Stephen Fenton met with Network Rail representatives on 24 February to ask them to pause plans to establish a compound on land off Moor Lane until February 2024. News of the proposed compound location came as a surprise to residents who received a letter from Network Rail on Friday 19 February.
When asked whether the compound needed planning permission, Network Rail confirmed that it does not. They said:
“The Moor Lane construction compound benefits from deemed planning permission granted by virtue of Part 4, Class A of Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. Therefore, the compound does not require planning permission from the local planning authority in this instance.”
In response to the request for a pause, the Network Rail representatives at the meeting wouldn’t commit to this but said they would consider this request internally and come back with a response, hopefully in the next few days. Stephen said that he would be happy to meet Network Rail again at a time of their choosing.
Network Rail expressed a willingness to undertake more meaningful dialogue with local residents and Stephen suggested that the proposed pause would enable them to have these conversations and address issues of concern.
Network Rail committed to providing contact details for a senior colleague who will be able to liaise with the residents at 21 Moor Lane whose almost-completed house sale was scuppered by news of the compound plans.
During the meeting, Stephen was able to obtain some details of the proposed compound’s layout and operation.
- The proposed compound is one of a number that Network Rail have established or are planning to establish to support the line upgrade work. Ideally they need to be no more than 1.5km apart. To the north of Moor Lane they will have a compound at the Model Railway site off North Lane, and to the south they will have a compound off Tadcaster Road near Copmanthorpe
- The compounds all need to be on the same side of the tracks, as it is the two lines nearest to the field that are being upgraded. This is why Network Rail discounted using land near the new Askham Bar P&R site, as it would be on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’
- Network Rail said that that they have been in touch with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust about impacts on Askham Bog
- Network Rail is setting up a ‘logistics hub’ elsewhere at which as much of the ‘build’ work will be done as possible, with materials then being transported to their compounds
- The compound surface will have a stone dressing and will be surrounded by a two-metre high metal fence
- Trackside work will be done during daytime and at night, for which they will use ‘task lighting.’ This work will include ‘sheet piling’
- The compound will be lit with ‘tower lights’ with hoods, multi-directional lighting will not be used
- There’ll be parking on site for up to 15 cars
- The Network Rail representatives at the meeting weren’t aware of any traffic safety impact assessment having been undertaken, but said they would come back on that point
Separately, Stephen has contacted the council’s Public Protection team to alert them to residents’ concerns about the potential for nuisance and disturbance to be caused by the compound’s operation.