St Albans MP secures commons debate on Radlett rail freight plans
PUBLISHED: 13:41 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:41 21 July 2020
The proposed Park Street rail freight terminal will be debated in Parliament after St Albans MP Daisy Cooper vowed to continue the fight against the development.
Ms Cooper has secured the discussion for the first day of Parliament resuming following the summer break on Tuesday, September 1.
She will use the debate to warn MPs of the huge damage the proposal for the 3.5 million square metre strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) will have on the community of Park Street, on the Green Belt, and on the surrounding roads and commuter rail links.
The Liberal Democrat MP has vowed to fight the government on the freight terminal “to the bitter end” after St Albans City and District council conceded the fight against the depot and withdrew its own plans to build around 2,000 houses on the site, as part of the Local Plan.
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She has described the Conservative government’s freight plans, on the site of the former Radlett Airfield, as “unacceptable” and “an assault on our community”.
Daisy Cooper said: “It was the Tories’ own Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, who said a decade ago that the terminal didn’t fit with the development plan in the area and was inappropriate in the green belt.
“He even highlighted the likely harm to the landscape and ecology, but went ahead and approved the freight terminal anyway. The government changed course then and it can change course again now. It must listen to the people whose lives will be so severely impacted and recognise the enormous damage its own policy will inflict on the community and the environment.
“By agreeing to the council’s plans for 2,300 homes instead of this monstrous freight interchange, this site could help to achieve government housing targets, be at the heart of an East-West Herts innovation corridor and could pioneer the new post-COVID world of work, by integrating local housing, jobs and sustainable transport.
READ MORE: ‘We surrender!’ St Albans council concedes fight against Park Street rail freight depot in exchange for Local Plan
“I’m pleased to have secured this important debate on the first day that parliament returns. I’ll use it to bring home to the Conservative government the impossible demands of meeting government housing targets and accommodating a
government-imposed freight interchange, while also helping protect the green belt, and try to persuade them instead to give the green light to the Liberal Democrats’ alternative vision of using the site to provide genuinely affordable homes, jobs and sustainable living.”
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