DIRFT is a rail freight terminal in Northamptonshire with a large warehousing estate on site. It is home to many familiar consumer brands as well as logistics and delivery companies such as DHL and Eddie Stobart.
As a rail terminal it benefits from excellent nationwide connectivity thanks to its location in the central section of the West Coast Main Line. The WCML route stretches from Greater London to Edinburgh, linking the Midlands and the North West. A direct route to the Channel Tunnel extends the network to France and the rest of Mainland Europe.
As part of the Golden Triangle, DIRFT is conveniently located in close proximity to the M1 and A5. Warehousing units and distribution centres in the four quadrants of the site are occupied by brands including major supermarkets, parcel carriers, haulage firms and wholesalers. In addition to the road and rail links, East Midlands Airport is located just 37 miles up the M1.
The original DIRFT Central, DIRFT South and DIRFT East areas were unveiled in 1997 and this was then supplemented a decade later by DIRFT II, which resulted in a total footprint of more than 430 acres. The latest project, DIRFT III, will bring 8 million sq ft of additional logistics space to Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal. According to the developers Prologis, 98% of the British population can be reached within a 4.5 hours drive of DIRFT. This gives a guaranteed value to any prospective development in the area.
The third section will also include a lorry park, which will enable long distance drivers to rest. The existing options for truck stops nearby are on the A5 near Lilbourne and the M1 at Watford Gap. The implementation of the third section of distribution space is set to increase employment in the Midlands, with up to 9000 positions being created.
However, it’s not just local industry that will benefit from the transport and distribution expansion. An ecological buffer zone between the industrial area of Northamptonshire and the residential edge of Warwickshire will be called Lilbourne Meadows. This will come in the form of wet grassland, woodlands and landscaped meadow areas with the aim of maintaining the environmental balance of the area.
Ultimately, the reason for the industrial expansion is a huge demand for supply chain space. In the last decade, the availability of warehousing has dwindled as business growth outstrips supply logistics space.