Rail Freight planning appeal process begins

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News release: 04 June 2007

St Albans District Council is preparing to defend the decision not to grant planning permission for the Rail Freight Terminal.

On 31st May, the Planning Inspectorate notified the District Council that Helioslough have lodged an appeal against the Council’s decision in February 2007 to refuse planning permission.

The Planning Committee considered the application and the report from the Highways Agency on 19th February 2007, and decided to refuse planning permission. An archived file of the webcast is available to view on the Council’s home page, www.stalbans.gov.uk under quick links to online services and will be there until September 2007.

The 31st May is the start date of the Rail Freight appeal process and the Council’s role is to carry out the following:-

  • Within 2 weeks of the start date, to notify everyone who was consulted on the application, and those who subsequently commented on it, of the details of the planning appeal, (approximately 9 thousand local residents), and to provide the contact details of the Inspectorate where comments can be sent.

  • To prepare a document stating the Council’s case for refusal and submit this to the Inspectorate by 11th July.

  • To provide a Programme Officer to assist the Inspectorate by co-ordinating the documentation and liaising between the Inspectorate and other parties.

  • To identify and provide a suitable venue for the length of the Inquiry.

  • To provide a legal team to present the Council’s case.

  • To prepare a Section 106 agreement, which will only take effect if the appeal is allowed.

Cllr Chris Brazier, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation said: “The likely cost of this defence to the District Council, could be anything up to £1 million. This is the cost of defending the democratic decision taken by the Planning Referrals Committee”.

At this stage the Inspectorate has not proposed a date for the Inquiry to be held. The Inquiry could last anything from 6 weeks to 3 months or more.

Further information will be provided as soon as it is available.

Davina Mansell, Press Officer
Email: d.mansell@stalbans.gov.uk

Notes to the editor:-

The site is within the Metropolitan Green Belt between Park Street and London Colney.

On 19th February, 375 people attended the Council’s Planning Referrals Committee meeting at the Alban Arena, to determine the Rail Freight application submitted by Helioslough Ltd, whilst 256 people watched the live webcast of the proceedings.