Inquiry concerns

SIR, – I write to you with extreme concern on information Anne Main has given her constituents in the email I received last week. It appears that a public inquiry into the rail freight depot has already been scheduled for October 12 – how can this be, con

SIR, - I write to you with extreme concern on information Anne Main has given her constituents in the email I received last week. It appears that a public inquiry into the rail freight depot has already been scheduled for October 12 - how can this be, considering the district council only deliberated the application on Monday evening?

To me, as a local resident, observing both the county council deliberations in the morning of July 20 and the district council referrals committee meeting in the evening it appeared that a number of issues have still to be considered.

Can the appropriate authorities have time to complete these before October 12? Can all parties have sufficient time to prepare for a public inquiry on such a large and complex issue?

To have a public inquiry date by last Tuesday infers to me that the planning inspectorate might have been contacted before deliberations took place on Monday - is this appropriate?


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As a taxpayer who will help to fund the cost of the inquiry and the council's legal costs I feel I have the right to pose these questions at least.

We, as a people, have a reputation for requiring 'fair play' in all elements of life in this country. I hope therefore, if the council feels the applicant may not be following due process or indeed the planning inspectorate, that the council will take further legal advice on the matter and pursue it further should there be a hint that all is not quite right.

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I cannot recall another issue that has brought the whole district together in anger and outrage at the way this developer seems to have tried to run roughshod over us and the area we hold in stewardship for future generations.

I trust all will be done to ensure that due process is observed. I will not forget how on Monday evening a speaker for the proposal seemed to me to threaten the council on an aspect of procedure. I believe before making such statements one should ensure one's own house is in order.

VANESSA GREGORY

Tennyson Road

St Albans

SIR, - Although the Park Street rail depot battle is currently won, there are some wild slovenly assumptions which weakens future campaigns.

How can our main line be full? With the pending Thameslink 2000, most of the West Anglia trains at present entering King's Cross suburban, will also share the tracks through central London(but not affect the proposed rail terminal tracks). In fact, the greater disruption risk to our trains is the Thameslink 2000 project which, when complete, will have up to 24 trains per hour, up to 12 coaches long, through London, each way.

Since time immemorial, traditionally many freight trains run at off peak times in the evening and night.

No sensible rail track company would actually adopt the silly design of a single track north facing branch from the south slow line. That would indeed cause operational chaos. Probably, a pair of decelerating/holding sidings will be laid beside the main tracks so trains can enter quickly, from either direction, and then have plenty of time for the locos to shunt around as necessary.

Finally, the rail tracks are part of the country's infrastructure; they are available to all and no particular rail operating company has exclusive rights.

As regards whether or not the vital M25 direct access would be allowed, time passes; priorities change; government departments change; and the current thinking could also easily change.

Curiously, the Government has selected the Great Western mainline for electrification. It is this route which is a strategic 'TEN' (Trans European Network route) and was of course serving Labour strongholds of Slough, Swindon and South Wales. This route would be ideal for a strategic rail interchange depot, and, during electrification, will have its loading gauge upgraded to take continental sized containers. And, to boot, it will merge with Cross Rail and direct routes to the Channel.

PH Field

St Stephens Avenue

St Albans

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