An attempt to stop the sale of Radlett Airfield - to make way for a controversial rail freight terminal - has been quashed following a meeting of Herts County Council's overview and scrutiny committee. 

The decision was made during a committee meeting this morning (Wednesday, May 24), and has since been described as "a desperately sad day for Hertfordshire".

The terminal is set to be located on the former site of Radlett Airfield.

Planning permission for a rail freight terminal on the former site of Radlett Airfield has previously been approved by once-secretary of state Eric Pickles.


Hertfordshire County Council had already agreed to sell the land to rail freight developers SEGRO, but no sale has yet taken place.

A decision had previously been imminent on the sale of the land, however, Liberal Democrat councillor Sandy Walkington "successfully forced" the council to refer its decision to the local authority's overview and scrutiny committee.

Following a vote by a show of hands, members agreed by a majority on the following recommendation: that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee have no objection to the called-in decision being implemented.

Six members voted in favour of the recommendation, and four Members voted against the recommendation.

Herts Advertiser: Liberal Democrat councillor Sandy Walkington.Liberal Democrat councillor Sandy Walkington. (Image: copyright©garyshore)

Cllr Sandy Walkington said: "It was really frustrating. Afterwards, councillors of all parties and officers told me how strong my arguments had been.

"Some of my points were not even addressed by the officers.

"But, when it came to the vote, everything proceeded down dreary party tramlines.


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"It is a desperately sad day for Hertfordshire."

When approached for comment, the Conservative leader of Hertfordshire County Council, Cllr Richard Roberts, added: "We welcome today’s scrutiny committee vote.

"As the committee agreed, the called-in decision can now be implemented.

"Officers will continue to seek to obtain the best outcome and value for all Hertfordshire residents in line with the wishes of Cabinet."

Herts County Council has stated on many occasions that they are "relunctant" sellers with regards to the airfield. 

Herts Advertiser: The leader of Hertfordshire County Council, Richard Roberts.The leader of Hertfordshire County Council, Richard Roberts. (Image: Herts County Council)

A local campaign group, Save St Albans: Fight the Freight, have been organising public meetings to discuss how the rail freight terminal can be stopped.

A petition to suspend the sale has reached 8,000 signatures on

However, the council claim that the creation of the new rail freight terminal will lead to the creation of a new country park, a by-pass for Park Street, "much-needed employment" and "reduce the carbon footprint of transporting freight across the nation.”

An earlier version of this story and our front-page story published on June 1 (entitled 'Land for rail freight terminal 'to be sold') incorrectly stated that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Hertfordshire County Council had agreed to sell Radlett Airfield.

We would like to clarify that the decision to sell the land was recommended by the Resources and Performance panel in December 2022, and later confirmed by a majority at full council. Representatives from all political groups in St Albans objected to the sale.

At the May 24th meeting the OSC had in fact voted on whether Hertfordshire’s Director of Resources had appropriately carried out their professional duties with regard to the land sale decision being implemented.

We apologise for this oversight.