St Albans campaigners have said "the fight is not over", despite Green Belt land being sold for a new rail freight terminal near the city.

Save St Albans: Fight the Freight are now considering a judicial review, after Hertfordshire County Council sold the land to rail freight developers Segro.

The local authority confirmed on Friday (June 30), that a sale of the former Radlett Airfield had been completed.


Former Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, has already given planning permission for the rail freight terminal to be constructed.

It now falls to St Albans City & District Council to ensure that planning conditions are complied with.

Herts Advertiser: Once Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.Once Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.

One of Save St Albans: Fight the Freight's leaders, Cllr Nuala Webb, described the sale as "a sad day for local democracy, and a sad day for the entire St Albans area".

The district councillor continued: "Herts CC have continued to ignore legal advice that they were under no compulsion to sell, they have blocked petitions against the sale from local residents and ignored mounting evidence that this valuable piece of Green Belt land will not be viable as a rail freight terminal and will instead end up as a lorry to lorry distribution centre, increasing the carbon footprint rather than reducing it.

“Indeed, it is ironic that Herts pushed through the sale in the same week that traffic on the A414 and around St Albans has been gridlocked day after day. 

"This new terminal will only add to congestion and blight the lives of all those who live here."

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: "This sale will pave the way for a new strategic freight rail interchange, new country park and a bypass to alleviate traffic pressures on Park Street.

"Not only should this development bring forward employment opportunities for the people of Hertfordshire, the use of rail for cross country freight will help the nation collectively reduce our carbon footprint."

Cllr Nuala Webb has described these benefits as "hogwash".

She added: "The so called Park Street by-pass will be a service and perimeter road that won’t keep traffic out of the village and the new country park they say will be created already exists.

“The whole sale process has been seriously flawed.

"Save St Albans: Fight the Freight continue to talk to our lawyers and, now the sale has been announced, will consider steps towards a possible judicial review. 

"Despite the announcement, the fight is not over.”

The Liberal Democrat county councillor for St Albans South, Sandy Walkington, described news of the sale as "A bad, bad day for Hertfordshire".

Herts Advertiser: Liberal Democrat County Councillor Sandy WalkingtonLiberal Democrat County Councillor Sandy Walkington (Image: copyright©garyshore)

He remarked: "This is terrible news for St Albans and Hertfordshire.

"Council tax payers will rue the day as the overall impact becomes apparent.

"Massive traffic congestion, noise and air pollution during construction, destruction of the historic setting of St Albans Cathedral, disruption of commuter rail services, the list is endless."

Hertfordshire County Council have previously described themselves as "reluctant sellers" of the Green Belt land.

Herts Advertiser: Green Belt land, at Radlett Airfield.Green Belt land, at Radlett Airfield.

The council has also allayed rumours that the rail terminal will eventually become a lorry-to-lorry terminal.

Prior to the sale, a spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council told The Herts Ad: "The planning permission granted by the Secretary of State was for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange at the site of the former Radlett Aerodrome and this is what we expect to be built on the land if it is sold.

"None of the units shall be occupied until the Midland mainline connection works have been completed, and until an operational rail link has been provided from such works to the relevant units.

"We have previously, and continue to commit to working with the local planning authority to ensure that any development is in line with the planning permissions in place.”