For a village with a population of fewer than 7000 Castle Donington can long claim to have punched above its weight. It boasts a busy international gateway (East Midlands Airport is one of the largest ‘pure freight’ airports in the UK), a world-famous motor racing circuit in Donington Park and a huge annual rock festival in ‘Download’.
However, at the beginning of this year work began on one of the most ambitious development schemes the area has ever seen; a 700 acre logistics park near Kegworth – The East Midlands Gateway – which will transform the local landscape and provide employment opportunities for an estimated 7250 people.
Planning consent has been granted for almost 6,000,000 square feet of logistics warehousing and facilities and a 50 acre rail freight interchange capable of handling 16 x 775 metre long trains per day. A rail spur will connect to the freight-only line through Castle Donington and the first trains should arrive at the beginning of 2020. Container storage facilities and parking for large goods vehicles will also feature and the site will effectively become an inland port. A new bus interchange will allow people to get to the site using public transport and with East Midlands Parkway railway station just a couple of miles away, easy access for the local labour market is assured.
The first warehousing units are scheduled for occupation in autumn 2018 with food giant, Nestle being announced as one of the first prospective tenants. It is reported that they will be transferring the operation from their current site in Bardon to a 600,000 sq ft facility to be operated by XPO Logistics. Other tenants include Amazon, Kuehne & Nagel and Very.co.uk. Games Workshop are also thought to be planning a new distribution centre to be located on the site.
Such a major project requires significant infrastructure investment and these include improvements to junctions 24 and 24A of the M1, a new junction on the A453 to provide access to the site and a southern by-pass for Kegworth. Changes to the road layout at junction 24 will allow traffic from the A453 to proceed directly onto the A50. As part of Highways England’s ongoing motorway improvement programme, the M1 is being upgraded to ‘smart motorway’ status between junctions 23 – 25.
Whilst the development is not universally popular among local residents, who are understandably concerned about noise and traffic, schemes such as this are vital to the local economy. With the East Midlands HS2 hub to be built at nearby Toton and a new distribution centre constructed in Sawley for Aldi, the triangle between Nottingham, Derby and Leicester is set to become a site of pivotal, economic importance.
The area has already attracted major distribution investment from companies such as Marks and Spencer, DHL and UPS. It is an ideal site for our busy same day courier service for the same reasons; we can get couriers into and out of local towns and cities quickly and give clients an excellent direct delivery service across the UK.