Civic Society joins fight against St Albans rail freight depot

PUBLISHED: 18:52 19 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 06 May 2010

Civic Society campaigners Eric Roberts and Marion Hammant with on of their posters

Civic Society campaigners Eric Roberts and Marion Hammant with on of their posters

CIVIC watchdogs have used one-third of their annual funds to alert train passengers to the dangers of a rail freight depot being built at Park Street. St Albans Civic Society has spent £3,000 on three posters which have been on display at the city s stati

CIVIC watchdogs have used one-third of their annual funds to alert train passengers to the dangers of a rail freight depot being built at Park Street.

St Albans Civic Society has spent £3,000 on three posters which have been on display at the city's station to demonstrate to passengers the impact a rail freight depot would have on them and their journeys.

One is by the taxi rank, the second by the steps near the booking hall and the third on Platform Four. Showing a view across to the Abbey, they bear the slogan, Now You See It, Now You Don't And Never Will Again.

The posters are to warn passengers of the impact of the rail freight depot with its proposed 3.5 million sq ft of warehousing in five buildings, 24 freight trains going in and out daily and extra lorry transport on local roads.

Funding the posters is an almost unprecedented step for the Civic Society to take - the only other time in recent years they have dipped deep into their collective pocket was for an alternative cinema scheme.

But former chairman Eric Roberts said this week: "This is the biggest threat to St Albans in years. Each warehouse is bigger than Terminal Five at Heathrow. As an ex-railway man I am pro-rail but this is just in the wrong place."

He explained that the Civic Society had been compelled to pull out the stops because then Secretary of State Hazel Blears had left a loophole in the unsuccessful appeal by developers Helioslough suggesting that they would have got permission had they proved there were no suitable alternative sites.

Mr Roberts pointed out that the First Capital Connect services that so many people in St Albans, Harpenden and Radlett used would be severely impacted by additional rail freight heading for the former Radlett Airfield site.

He added: "We want them to see that it will affect their train services just as Thameslink 2000 is coming on line."

The Herts Advertiser's Put The Brakes On Freight! campaign was recently launched in support of the work pressure group Stop The Rail Freight Exchange (STRiFE) is doing to alert people to the danger of complacency over the new application from developers Helioslough for the 300-plus acres Green Belt site.


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