Rail freight interchange

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Update on railfreight interchange, Park Street

On 14th July 2014, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government granted planning permission for a rail freight interchange at a site in Park Street. The outline planning permission agreed the principle of the rail freight development in this location, together with the means of access, siting of the development and landscaping scheme. Following the grant of outline planning permission, the applicant needs to submit reserved matters applications to agree the key details associated with the rail freight development. They also need to apply to discharge a number of planning conditions. See the document below for more information about the applications on reserved matters and discharge of conditions and how to comment on them, if you wish.

The site locations

The broad locations for the Railfreight site are outlined in red and can be viewed on the map below.

The Landscape Masterplan

The illustrative masterplan for Areas 1 to 8 of the development area can be viewed on the map below.

3 July 2015

Council decides not to take forward appeal on rail freight Court decision.


See Press Release

13 April 2015


See Press Release.


22 August 2014

The Council lodged a claim in the High Court challenging the Secretary of State's decision to grant planning permission.  See Council press release.

14 July 2014

A decision notice was received by the Council on 14 July 2014 in which the  Secretary of State grants planning permission for rail freight interchange in Park Street.  See Council press release.

09 April 2014

Response from St Albans City and District Council to the DCLG's letter from 01 April and attachments.

01 April 2014

Letter from DCLG dated 01 April 2014 inviting final comments on the representations received.

6 March 2014

Letter from St Albans City and District Council dated 6 March 2014 to DCLG commenting on S106 Obligation.

20 February 2014

St Albans City and District Council has received a letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government giving the Council an opportunity to comment on the Section 106 planning obligation signed by Hertfordshire County Council on 19 December 2013.

This relates to the County Council's landownership interest in the proposed rail freight site at Park Street. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has asked for all comments to be received by 6 March 2014.

9 December 2013

St Albans City & District Council has responded to an invitation from Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) related to the proposed rail freight depot at Park Street.

The District Council is making submissions regarding a report to the County Council's Cabinet at a meeting on Monday 9 December.

Mike Lovelady, Head of Legal, Democratic and Regulatory Services at St Albans City and District Council will make representations for the District Council at the meeting.  The District Council has sent a letter dated 6 December 2013 outlining its submission to HCC. 

5 September 2013

News release: 05 September 2013

Proposed strategic rail freight interchange:  council refused permission to apply for Judicial Review

St Albans City and District Council was refused permission on Friday 30 August to proceed with its current Judicial Review application. 

The Council sought to challenge a decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government made on 14 December 2012.  The challenge related to the Secretary of State's decision not to re-open the planning inquiry into the proposed Radlett Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) in Park Street and conjoin it with an inquiry into an alternative site near Slough. 

The Council's initial application for permission to proceed with a Judicial Review was turned down by the High Court in an order issued on 14 June.  An oral hearing before a High Court judge to have the application reconsidered was heard on Friday. 

The Council's renewed application was rejected after an hour and a half's hearing.  The judge, Mr Justice Collins, determined that the Secretary of State was entitled to exercise his discretion to reach the decision he did.

Following legal advice, the Council has decided not to seek leave to appeal against the Judge's decision.

The final decision on the appeal by Helioslough Ltd in respect of the proposed SRFI at Park Street, St Albans, is yet to be made by the Secretary of State.  

In a letter dated 20 December 2012, the Secretary of State stated that he is minded to approve the appeal subject to the provision of a satisfactory Section 106 planning obligation which binds all those with an interest in the appeal site.  

In a letter dated 15 August 2013, the Secretary of State extended the period for submission of a satisfactory planning obligation until 14 November 2013.  

The Council will consider its response to the Secretary of State's final decision on the SRFI when it is issued.


Contact for the media:
Claire Wainwright, Principal Communications and Marketing Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819572, E-mail: claire.wainwright@stalbans.gov.uk 




2 July 2013

The Council has received notification that Helioslough Ltd's application for permission to proceed with its Judicial Review against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has been refused.  Documentation is included at the link below.

17 June 2013

Press Release issued 17 June 2013

Council refused permission to apply for Judicial Review on rail freight planning inquiry issue

A High Court judge has refused St Albans City and District Council permission to apply for Judicial Review in the proposed Radlett (Park Street) Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) matter.  The Judge considered the application on the documentation submitted by the Council, the defendant, and interested parties.

In February 2013, the Council had sought a Judicial Review of a decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. 

The challenge related to the Secretary of State's decision not to re-open the planning inquiry into the proposed Radlett SRFI and conjoin it with an inquiry into an alternative site near Slough. 

The High Court order, issued on 14 June 2013, detailing reasons for refusal of permission, is available at the link below.  The Council will need to pay costs of £2,000 to the Secretary of State. 

The Council can apply for reconsideration of its application at an oral hearing before a High Court Judge.  The Council will consult its legal advisors on the matter before deciding on a course of action.

A final decision on whether the development will go ahead has yet to be taken.  In a letter of 20 December 2012 the Secretary of State said that he was “minded to approve” planning permission subject to various conditions.  Helioslough, the company behind the scheme, is currently applying for Judicial Review against the Secretary of State.  The company is seeking an immediate final decision on the appeal. 


Background information:

SACDC press release, 21 January 2013 :  ‘Council considers Secretary of State's interim decision on rail freight terminal to be ‘flawed’’.

 
SACDC press release, 1 March 2013 : Rail freight terminal latest: Council launches Judicial Review

20 May 2013

The Council has been served with proceedings, as one of a number of interested parties, related to a High Court Judicial Review claim against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, by Helioslough Ltd.

23 April 2013

The Council has received a copy of a letter from Hogan Lovells acting for Helioslough dated 19 April 2013 to the Treasury Solicitor in response to their letter of 16 April 2013.

18 April 2013

The Council has received a copy of a letter from the Treasury Solicitor to Hogan Lovells acting for Helioslough dated 18 April 2013.

16 April 2013

The Council has received a copy of a letter to DCLG from Hogan Lovells acting for Helioslough Ltd dated 15th April 2013.

28 March 2013

The Council responded to DCLG, in a letter dated 28 March 2013, on matters arising from letters from Hogan Lovells acting for Helioslough Ltd dated 28/02/13 and 07/03/2013.

27 March 2013

The Council has received a copy of a letter to DCLG from Hogan Lovells acting for Helioslough Ltd, dated 27 March.

22 March 2013

The Council has received a copy of the Secretary of State's Summary Grounds of Defence (Acknowledgement of Service form plus attachment) dated 22 March 2013 related to the current application for Judicial Review.  We have also received a copy of Helioslough's Summary Grounds of Defence and Acknowledgement of Service form dated 22 March 2013.  Additionally we have received a copy of Goodman Logistics Development (UK) Ltd's Judicial Review Acknowledgement of Service form dated 21 March 2013.

13 March 2013

The Council wrote to DCLG on 13 March 2013, ref letters from Hogan Lovells dated 28 Feb and 7 March

07 March 2013

The Council has been sent copies of the following letters related to the proposed Strategic Rail Freight Interchange at Park Street.

05 March 2013

The Council has been sent copies of the following letters related to the proposed Strategic Rail Freight Interchange at Park Street.

01 March 2013

Press Release - 01 March 2013

Rail freight terminal latest: Council launches Judicial Review

On 14 December 2012, the Secretary of State decided not to re-open the Park Street Inquiry and conjoin it with the Colnbrook, Slough Strategic Railfreight application appeal.

St Albans City and District Council is applying for Judicial Review of his decision.

The Council’s Judicial Review application seeks to quash the decision and refer the matter back to the Secretary of State for reconsideration.

The Council is serving proceedings today against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and against various parties with an interest in the claim. These are Helioslough Ltd, the developer of the proposed Radlett scheme; Goodman Logistics Development (UK) Limited, the company behind the proposed Colnbrook development; and Slough Borough Council.

The Council’s grounds of application can be found in its detailed statement available at: http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/planning/rail_freight_interchange.aspx

Contact for the media:

Claire Wainwright, Principal Communications and Marketing Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819572, E-mail: claire.wainwright@stalbans.gov.uk, www.stalbans.gov.uk

Grounds of application - 01 March 2013

24 January 2013

Press Release - 25 January 2013

Proposed rail freight terminal:  Secretary of State agrees to Helioslough’s request for an extension to ‘planning obligation’ deadline

In a further development regarding the proposed rail freight interchange at Park Street, St Albans City & District Council has received notification of an extension to the Secretary of State’s decision making timescales.

Last month, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said that he was “minded to approve” planning permission for the rail freight interchange subject to various conditions. 

He proposed to defer his final decision on the appeal until the conditions had been met. The Secretary of State is seeking a Section 106 planning obligation - an obligation to fund various infrastructure requirements - from the developer, Helioslough. 

The Secretary of State originally proposed to allow until 28 February 2013 for the planning obligation to be submitted, before proceeding to a final decision.  However, in a letter dated 24 January 2013, the Secretary of State has agreed to a request from Helioslough to extend the period to 28 March 2013. 

This is to allow Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet to consider the matter at its meeting on 25 February.  The County Council owns land included in the proposed rail freight interchange site.


Contact for the media:

Claire Wainwright, Principal Communications and Marketing Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819572, E-mail: claire.wainwright@stalbans.gov.uk 

(For associated correspondence links see below)

21 January 2013

Press release

21 January 2013


Council considers Secretary of State’s interim decision on rail freight terminal to be ‘flawed’

St Albans City & District Council has responded to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government’s recent letters regarding the proposed Radlett rail freight terminal near Park Street. 

The Secretary of State said, in his letter of 14 December, that he had decided after all not to re-open the inquiry into the Radlett strategic rail freight terminal (SFRI) and conjoin it with an inquiry into an alternative site at Colnbrook, Slough. 

In his letter of 20 December the Secretary of State said that he was “minded to approve” planning permission for the proposed interchange, subject to various conditions.

In its letters of 18 January, the Council has requested that the Secretary of State reconsider his decision not to re-open the Radlett inquiry and conjoin it with the Colnbrook inquiry. 

The Council has also given notice of its intention to challenge the decision not to reopen and conjoin the inquiry through judicial review in the High Court if the Secretary of State does not meet the Council’s request.  The Council sets out its reasons in detail in its letters of 18 January.

The Council has requested a response from the Secretary of State within seven days.

The Council says that it considers the Secretary of State’s interim decision, outlined in his letter dated 20 December, in which he says he is ‘minded to approve’ planning permission for the Radlett SFRI, to be flawed.  It has requested that he reconsider this interim decision.

The Council maintains that the Secretary of State’s view that he sees “little reason to conclude that Colnbrook would meet the needs for an SFRI in a less harmful way” than that at Radlett, is contrary to his earlier positions in 2010 and 2012. 

It believes that the interim decision fails to take into account the lack of any proper and adequate comparative assessment of the relative merits of the two sites.

The Council concludes that the Secretary of State’s assessment of the position regarding Colnbrook is entirely inconsistent with his reasoning in the original decision of July 2010 to refuse permission, and his subsequent conduct.  

The Council contends that the change of position stands wholly unexplained, indicating that it considers that the interim decision was reached either on an irrational basis or by taking into account immaterial considerations. 

(Note: 23 January 2013 - The Treasury Solicitor's Department wrote to confirm that they aim to respond in substance to the Council's letter by 6 February 2013)

Contact for the media:

Claire Wainwright, Principal Communications and Marketing Officer

St Albans City and District Council

Tel: 01727 819572

E-mail: claire.wainwright@stalbans.gov.uk 

www.stalbans.gov.uk

21 December 2012

Letter from Department for Communities and Local Government 20 December 2012

14 December 2012

The Department of Communities and Local Government wrote on 14 December 2012 to say that the Secretary of State has decided not to reopen the inquiry into a planned rail freight terminal near Park Street.  

12 October 2012

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) had previously written to the Council (12 October 2012) asking for comments on representations received in response to the Secretary of State’s letter of 19 September(see below). This invited views on a proposal to re-open the Radlett inquiry and conjoin it with the inquiry into the appeal for a Rail/Road Freight Interchange at Colnbrook, Slough.

Letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government dated 19th September 2012.

The Letter from the Department of Communities and Local Government dated 19th September 2012 and St Albans City and District Council's response to this letter dated 2nd October 2012 can be viewed  below.


Background

Helioslough Ltd appealed against St Albans City & District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a rail freight interchange on land at the former Radlett aerodrome. A Public Inquiry was held in November and December 2009. This culminated in a decision by the Secretary of State, dated 7 July 2010, to dismiss the appeal. 

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

Helioslough challenged the Secretary of State’s July 2010 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 that the proposed development be allowed. 

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 written representations. The Council made its further representations on 14 October 2011. 

In a letter dated 29 March 2012, the Secretary of State informed all parties to the appeal that he had decided to delay his decision. He invited further written representations on the relevance of the recently published National Planning Policy Framework. The Council provided its representations on 16 April 2012. 

The Secretary of State wrote to the Council in a letter dated 19 September 2012 to seek views on a proposal to re-open the Radlett inquiry. He proposed to join it with a planned inquiry into a proposed strategic rail freight terminal at Colnbrook near Slough. Interested parties were asked to give their views by 3 October 2012. 

In a letter dated 14 December 2012, the Department for Communities and Local Government said that he has decided not to re-open the inquiry.

In a letter of 20 December 2012 the Secretary of State said that he was “minded to approve” planning permission for the proposed interchange, subject to various conditions

In its letters of 18 January 2013, the Council requested that the Secretary of State reconsider his decision not to re-open the Radlett inquiry and conjoin it with the Colnbrook inquiry.  The Council also gave notice of its intention to challenge the decision not to reopen and conjoin the inquiry through judicial review in the High Court if the Secretary of State did not meet the Council’s request. 



Earlier information

Representation by an Interested Party

Rule 19 of the Town and Country Plannng Inquiries procedure rules requires the Secretary of State to send to persons entitled to appear at the inquiry, and who did so, a written statement of the matters on which further representations are invited for the purposes of his further consideration of the application. The Council submitted its representations to the Secretary of State on 14 October 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 submitted its comments on these representations on 10 November 2011.

A copy of the Secretary of State's letter and representations are as set out below:

Appeal Representations from the Department of Communities and Local Government

Kathryn Pettit - Hertfordshire County Council

Howard Wayne - Wayne Leighton Solicitors

Wayne Leighton Solicitors - Witness Statement

Tim Welburn - Department of Transport

Sandy Walkington and David Parry Representation

Mr LaRiviere Representation

Erica Mortimer - CgMs ConsultingSimon Flisher - Barton Willmore

The Council received a letter from Mr Howsham of Department for Communities and Local Government dated 29 November 2011.

Annex A to Mr Howsham's letter contains representations from the following interested parties:

St Albans City and District Council

Erica Mortimer, CgMs

Howard Wayne, Wayne Leighton Solicitors

Tim Wellburn, Dept for Transport

Simon Flisher, Barton WillmorePaul Stimpson, Slough Borough Council

Anne Main MP

James Clappison MP

The Council submitted further representations on 22 December 2011. The Council has also been invited to comment on the implications for the Appeal of the Department of Transport Ministerial Statement, policy guidance note on Strategic Railfrieght Interchanges and Logistics Growth Review Document issued on 29 November.

The Council has received a letter from Christine Symes of DCLG with the representations received to the Secretary of State’s letter dated 29 November 2011:

P Trevelyan, Civic Society

Wayne Leighton Solicitors

CGMS Consulting

Heliouslough Statement

Barton Willmore

Slough Borough Council

The Secretary of State having considered all the representations before him has decided that he is in a position to re-determine the Appeal.  A decision will be issued on or before 5 April 2012.

Press releases

(in descending date order)


3 July 2015 : Council decides not to take forward appeal on rail freight Court decision.

29 June 2015 Council refused permission to appeal on rail freight court dismissal

13 April 2015 Council seeks permission to appeal on rail freight court dismissal.

13 March 2015 : High court rejects council's challenge on rail freight decision. 

22 August 2014 Council set to challenge Secretary of State’s rail freight interchange planning decision in the High Court

14 July 2014 Secretary of State grants planning permission for rail freight interchange in Park Street

5 September 2013   council refused permission to apply for Judicial Review
20 June 2013 : Council applies to High Court for reconsideration of Judicial Review application

17 June 2013 : Council refused permission to apply for Judicial Review on rail freight planning inquiry issue 

1 March 2013 : Council launches Judicial Review 

25 January 2013 Secretary of State agrees to Helioslough’s request for an extension to ‘planning obligation’ deadline 

21 January 2013:  Council considers Secretary of State’s interim decision on rail freight terminal to be 'flawed'.  

21 December 2012 : Secretary of State minded to allow appeal and grant planning permission for proposed rail freight interchange in Park Street  

14 December 2012 : Secretary of State decides not to reopen rail freight planning inquiry 

2 October 2012 : Council responds to Secretary of State’s proposal to re-open rail freight planning inquiry

19 September 2012 : Secretary of State considers re-opening planning inquiry on proposed rail freight interchange

30 March 2012 : Secretary of State delays decision on planning permission for proposed rail freight interchange in Park Street

3 February 2012 : Decision on rail freight terminal appeal expected by 5 April

18 October 2011 : St Albans Council makes further representations to Secretary of State on rail freight terminal planning issue

12 July 2011:  Decision made not to seek leave to appeal rail freight interchange ruling

4 July 2011:  Council plans to appeal High Court decision on rail freight terminal proposal

1 July 2011:  St Albans City and District Council to consider appealing High Court decision on rail freight terminal proposal 

31 Jan 2011:

08 Jul 2010:  The Secretary of State overturns Helioslough’s planning appeal 

16 Nov 2009:

30 Oct 2009:  Arrangements for the Rail Freight planning inquiry 

16 Oct 2009 : Outcome of the Rail Freight Planning Referrals meeting 14th October

13 Oct 2009 : Approach to Rail freight defence to be decided.

24 Aug 2009:  Council prepares for Rail Freight appeal

21 July 2009:  Decision on the second planning application for a Rail Freight Interchange

15 July 2009:  Rail Freight Planning Referrals Committee meeting 20th July 2009 

18 May 2009:  Application for rail freight depot to be assessed

14 Nov 2008:  Rail Freight plans to be resubmitted

17 Dec 2007 :  webcast - end of the Rail Freight Planning Inquiry

12 Dec 2007 :  The Rail Freight Planning Inquiry comes to a close

12 Nov 2007 :  Rail Freight Planning Inquiry relocates for w/c 19 Nov

22 Oct 2007 :   Additional seats for Rail Freight Planning Inquiry

02 Oct 2007 :   Arrangements for the Rail Freight Planning Inquiry

19 Sep 2007 :  Rail Freight Planning Inquiry to start 6th November

06 Sep 2007 :  Decision on date for Rail Freight Planning Inquiry

12 Jul 2007 :  Rail Freight Planning Inquiry update

04 Jun 2007 :  Rail Freight Planning Appeal 

20 Feb 2007 :  Decision on the Rail Freight Planning application

22 Dec 2006 :  Rail Freight Planning application update

08 Nov 2006 :  webcast of Rail Freight meeting

02 Nov 2006 :  Rail Freight Planning committee decision

23 Oct 2006 :  Rail Freight Planning Referrals Committee meeting

13 Oct 2006 :  Rail Freight Planning Referrals Committee 1st November 

Frequently asked questions

What does the planning application involve?

This is an outline planning application (approval of means of access, siting and landscaping only) for the development of a Strategic Rail Freight interchange, comprising intermodel area, distribution buildings (Class B8 use) and other related floorspace (Class B1/B2 use) up to 331,655 square metres with a maximum height of 20 metres together with associated roads, rail and other infrastructure works including parking for up to 1602 cars and 617 lorries with earth mounding, tree planting and a new Park Street/Frogmore relief road. It includes additional landscape and other works on further sites to provide public access to open land and community forest. The overall proposals involve some 419 hectares.

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Is the land concerned included in the application Green Belt land?

The whole of the site is located within the metropolitan Green Belt. The bulk of the land is greenfield. Greenfield is a description applied to any previously undeveloped land or land which has reverted to its natural state.


 

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Date of last review: 06 December 2017