10,000 Herts residents back new hospital bid for Park Street rail freight site
PUBLISHED: 18:00 01 April 2017
A petition to build a new hospital near St Albans as an alternative to the controversial rail freight scheme has reached enough signatures to trigger a government response.
The campaign, which secured 10,000 signatures, was started by members of the Dacorum-based New Hospital Campaign, and urges the government to build a new hospital between St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Watford.
Campaigners argue that a new hospital on the Park Street Green Belt land would stop the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) development for the former Radlett Airfield site, while also providing health care and facilities in a convenient location for west Herts residents.
Two petitions on the Herts county council website, demanding that the council did not sell the Green Belt land to the SRFI developer also reached 10,000 signatures each.
Independent rail freight campaigner Andy Love said: “I wholeheartedly support the petition for a new hospital in west Herts. I have proposed and continue to canvass for a new super hospital to be built on the Park Street Green Belt, owned by Herts county council.
“This is available, is in a central location for west Herts residents, has a flat and green landscape, has good transport connections and in my opinion would make better use of the land than the proposed SRFI development.
“In my opinion the three petitions, with more than 30,000 signatures between them, demonstrate that a significant number of west Herts residents want to stop the SRFI development and have a new world class hospital central to their communities, a hospital built with a capacity to cater for the needs of growing population in this part of Hertfordshire.”
According to the petition, the hospital “must be purpose-built and equipped to modern standards with enough space for parking and future expansion”.
Rail freight developers Helioslough were given outline planning permission for the former Radlett Airfield site in 2014, under the condition that the developers create a new county park and a relief road in the surrounding area.