Wednesday, July 14, 2010

St Albans Multi Modal Link Developers Ponder Future of Rail Freight Depot

Council Lick Their Wounds and Look Forward whilst Helioslough Ponder
Shipping News Feature

UK – After our recent article on the strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI)proposed for Radlett Aerodrome near St Albans the developers, Helioslough, have now issued the promised statement following Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles’ dismissal of the scheme when he decided against the recommendations of the Appeal Inspector on the basis that a smaller scheme at Colnbrook could be developed with less impact on the Green Belt.

Helioslough point out that despite St Albans District Council raising a number of concerns at the Inquiry including the need for this facility, its deliverability, rail paths, highways impact, air quality and ecological impact, neither the Inspector nor the Secretary of State shared these concerns, which had already been tested at an earlier Inquiry. The Secretary of State accepted the Inspector’s considered view in all of these areas and awarded costs against the Council.

The developers go on to point out that the Colnbrook scheme has already been proposed, and rejected, when it was dismissed at an Appeal Inquiry in 2002. In addition, the Appeal Inspector’s Report shared the views of HelioSlough that great weight should be placed on the Strategic Gap allocation of the proposed Colnbrook site.

Commenting on the decision Mike Hughes of HelioSlough said:

“The Secretary of State’s decision has given HelioSlough and the development team much to think about over the coming week as we decide how best to move forward.

“The need to develop SRFIs and get consumer freight off our roads and onto rail remains compelling. Our proposal would play a key role in achieving that. At a time of sluggish national economic performance, our plans represented a significant private sector investment of £250milion that would have seen the creation of around 3,000 jobs, investment in the railways, significant carbon savings and, locally, a new relief road for Park Street and community infrastructure.

“Given the fact that the new Inspector and the Secretary of State agreed with the main points of our proposals and that the objections of St Albans Council were ruled to not be valid, we believed a positive outcome was justified.”

So it seems no decision has been made as yet to put the matter forward for judicial review, seemingly the only next step the developers can make. In the meantime, as reported earlier, the Council say they are determined to take whatever steps possible to ensure the future of Green Belt in the local area.