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Strategic rail freight interchange near St Albans approved

by on July 17, 2014

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has granted outline planning permission for the development of a major rail freight interchange at a Green Belt location in Hertfordshire. A previous decision by the SoS to refuse permission was quashed by a High Court ruling.

Proposals by developer Helioslough for the construction of a 331,665 square metre strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) at land in and around the site of the former Radlett Aerodrome near St Albans was initially refused permission by Hertfordshire County Council in 2009.

The proposed scheme included a rail terminal, distribution warehouses and the provision of road and rail infrastructure as well as a new bypass and open land with a community forest.

The decision letter agreed with the inspector who held the public inquiry that although the project would cause substantial harm to the area the overall benefits of the scheme outweighed its disadvantages.

The letter said: “The Secretary of State considers that the factors weighing in favour of the appeal include the need for SRFIs to serve London and the South East, to which he has attributed very considerable weight, and the lack of more appropriate alternative locations for an SRFI in the north west sector which would cause less harm to the Green Belt.
“He has also taken account of the local benefits of the proposals for a country park, improvements to footpaths and bridleways and the Park Street and Frogmore bypass.”

St Albans City & District Council said in a statement that it was “considering whether it has grounds to challenge the decision”.

Download the decision letter.


Roger Milne
17 July 2014

* Due to technical issues this week’s news stories are published on the Director’s Blog. They will be published on the Planning Portal in due course.

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