Bedfordshire rail freight plan may be good news for Radlett

APPROVAL for a development strategy in an adjoining county which includes plans for a rail freight interchange has prompted St Albans MP Anne Main to highlight the decision with a government department.

The executive committee of Central Beds Council have included plans for a rail freight interchange at Upper Sundon in their new development strategy.

And while the strategy still has to go through several hoops, Mrs Main has drawn it to the attention of Nick Boles, the Under Secretary of State for Planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

She points out that although the Sundon site has its difficulties, it is a “much more suitable location” for a rail freight terminal than the one proposed for the former Radlett Airfield in Park Street.

She went on: “One of the key observations made by the planning inspector when he visited the Radlett site was that there was not a readily available workforce to man any proposed rail freight terminal and most of the workforce would have to travel to the site from Luton.

“As the Sundon site is just outside of Luton, it has a ready workforce a few miles away making better economical and environmental sense than Radlett.”

She points out that both lines are on the same rail track and there is not sufficient capacity for both developments and calls for the Helioslough proposals for Radlett Airfield to be rejected as unsustainable. After sending the letter Mrs Main said it was clear that Central Beds Council wanted a rail freight interchange while the people of St Albans did not.

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A third public inquiry into the Radlett Airfield proposals is currently in the pipeline after Local Government and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles stepped back from making a decision on the Helioslough scheme after being ordered by the High Court to reconsider a previous decision to refuse it.

Instead he is proposing a fresh inquiry into the proposal conjoined with one for another rail freight interchange plan in Colnbrook, Slough.