Arsenal legend one of 10,000 people to sign Radlett rail freight petition

Former Arsenal and England footballer Alan Smith signing the rail freight petition

Former Arsenal and England footballer Alan Smith signing the rail freight petition - Credit: Archant

ARSENAL legend Alan Smith is one of over 10,000 people to recently sign a petition which will now force the county council to debate in public whether it should sell Radlett Airfield to railfreight developers Helioslough.

Alan, who lives in the area, was contacted by Gunners fan Helen Twining of STRiFE – Stop the Rail Freight Exchange – to alert both him and Arsenal FC to the situation.

Helioslough’s proposal for an international rail freight exchange, including a road and other infrastructure, will take up 331,665 square metres of land at the former Radlett Airfield – the equivalent of over 50 international football fields.

With a massive training ground at Bell Lane, London Colney, which is frequently used by the England national team, the football club can expect to be affected by the scheme which is expected to put a lot more heavy traffic on local roads.

STRiFE campaigners, backed by the Herts Advertiser, have worked hard to obtain enough signatures needed to trigger a debate at this month’s full Hertfordshire county council (HCC) meeting, at 10.30am on Tuesday, March 26.

The online petition calling on the council to listen to opponents of the scheme and neither sell nor lease the site to Helioslough for development has been signed by over 9,000 people, while a paper version has collected more than 1,370.

Cathy Bolshaw of STRiFE said that the group had made history as it was the first petition with that number of signatures to go to HCC, and would enable members to talk about the issue at the meeting.

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She added: “It’s good to bring something else to the table to councillors for them to consider, and explain why it is of benefit to not sell the land.

“There are various economic benefits, as well as protecting the Green Belt.”

A STRiFE representative can discuss the issue for five minutes at the meeting, before councillors debate it for a further 15 minutes.