Blow for St Albans rail freight depot fight

PUBLISHED: 12:51 18 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:07 06 May 2010

ANY hopes that the district council might be in a position not to determine the second application for a major rail freight depot in Park Street have been dashed. The council took legal advice from two leading counsellors over whether they could use Secti

ANY hopes that the district council might be in a position not to determine the second application for a major rail freight depot in Park Street have been dashed.

The council took legal advice from two leading counsellors over whether they could use Section 70A of the Town and Country Planning Act to refuse to make a decision on the new application because it is effectively the same as the first application.

But the advice from the two, one of whom was a top QC, was that Section 70A applied only to repeated unchanged applications for the same site and the council would not be able to justify it in law.

St Albans planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, explained: "The advice was 100 per cent sound that it would be ill-advised."

He and council leader, Robert Donald, together with the council's head of legal services and planning, took the decision on Friday that the application would have to be dealt with in the usual way.

As a result, letters of consultation will now go out to affected parties and the application is likely to be decided in the summer.

Helioslough submitted their second application after a planning inquiry into their first bid revealed that had they done more work to show there were no alternative sites for a rail freight depot, Secretary of State for Communities, Hazel Blears, would have looked for favourably at it.

St Albans Lib-Dem parliamentary hopeful, Sandy Walkington, called on everyone to unite and fight the application.

He added: "The threat of this monstrous development is like a knife in the underbelly of St Albans.

"Nothing is improved or changed in this application. It would destroy Park Street, clog up our already congested roads and wipe out the crucial green space that defines St Albans as a separate place."

He added: "It is vitally important that the whole community stands firm in its opposition.


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