St Albans Council makes further representations to Secretary of State on rail freight terminal planning issue

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News release: 18 October 2011
2012-07-13 Rail Homepage

St Albans City & District Council has made further representations to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government following a High Court appeal by Helioslough Ltd, a company seeking planning permission to build a strategic rail freight interchange on land in and around the former Radlett aerodrome in Park Street. 

The Council, in its original planning decision, considered that the rail freight proposal would cause harm to the Green Belt and would be contrary to the Development Plan.

Following an appeal by Helioslough against the Council’s decision, a Public Inquiry was held in November and December 2009.  The Secretary of State in a decision dated 7 July 2010 dismissed the appeal.  However Helioslough challenged his decision in the High Court.  On 1 July 2011 a High Court Judge quashed the decision on the basis of one of four grounds of challenge put forward by Helioslough.  St Albans City & District Council was a second defendant in the case.  The Judge found that the Secretary of State did not properly explain his reasons for disagreeing with the Planning Inspector’s recommendation of March 2010 that the proposed development be allowed.

In July 2011, the High Court referred the matter back to the Secretary of State to re-determine. The Secretary of State invited all parties to the planning appeal, including the Council, to make further representations, which the Council has now submitted.

The Council’s response addresses each of the points made in Secretary of State’s letter of 15 September 2011 inviting further representations.  Detailed submissions presenting new aspects which have come to light over the last few months have been prepared by the Council’s planning and rail freight consultants. The Council is not seeking the reopening of the Planning Inquiry.

The Council’s representations to the Secretary of State can be found at: http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/Images/14%20October%20Response_tcm15-20078.pdf.  The representations of other interested parties are also being posted on the Council’s website as they become available.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation at St Albans City & District Council said: “After the decision by the High Court to quash the Secretary of State’s decision not to grant planning permission, we said that we would be proactive in making our submissions and that is what we have done here.  We have provided a full and detailed response to the questions raised by the Secretary of State in his letter dated 15 September.  We have made legal submissions regarding the conditions and a Section 106 Undertaking put forward by Helioslough.  We have also identified a number of changes in the circumstances which have occurred since the close of the Public Inquiry in relation to rail freight and policy issues.  The reports submitted by our experts indicate that an alternative rail freight site at Colnbrook near Slough should be preferred over the Park Street site.”

Member contact: Cllr Teresa Heritage, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01582 761014

Contact for the press: Claire Wainwright, Principal Communications and Marketing Officer, St Albans City and District Council, 01727 819572, claire.wainwright@stalbans.gov.uk.
www.stalbans.gov.uk

Note added 15th November 2011

The Council received a further letter on behalf of the Secretary of State dated 19 October 2011 attaching copies of the representations received from other parties. The Council was invited to comment on these representations, and we submitted our comments on 11 November 2011.