Monday, June 18, 2012

More Confusion Over Intermodal Rail Freight Terminal

Delay Again for Multi Modal Solution
Shipping News Feature

UK – The hope that we expressed in February that the matter of the intermodal rail freight terminal development at St Albans would be resolved by April has once again vanished as we witness even more prevarication from the authorities. After our last article a date of the 13th June was set to finalise the matter with the government promising an answer but once again more of the same as, although delayed, no new date for a statement has been set.

Anyone interested in the history of this dispute can simply type a suitable keyword into the News Search facility but it boils down to developers Helioslough, who have poured money into lawyers as well as plans and presumably land, fighting a very strong case from the local populace who have repeatedly pointed out that, in their view, there are other more suitable sites available nearby.

So far we have seen original plans rejected by St Albans City and District council, appeals, a Public Enquiry, dismissal by Eric Pickles the Communities Secretary, a High Court challenge and further referral to the Government. Local politico’s such as local Conservative St Albans MP Anne Main and Lib Dem representative Sandy Walkington, who blogs under the Sandy4StAlbans banner, have voiced their objections and sided with the STRIFE group which was formed to object to the proposals.

The latest fly in the ointment is presumably the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework introduced in late March with its possible implications for the scheme with its seemingly mutually incompatible objectives of preserving historic heritage whilst encouraging a switch to inter modal transport, objectives the Framework decrees are ‘mutually dependent’.

Once again then the good people of St Albans and developers Helioslough are left in suspense awaiting the decision of the Government which, having already apparently reached an irrevocable position now finds itself between a rock and a hard place.

Photo: Radlett Aerodrome as it was.