Council and Government not to appeal rail freight decision

AN appeal will not be sought by the district council or the Secretary of State (SoS) over the decision to award Helioslough a fresh chance at securing planning permission for a gigantic rail freight terminal on Green Belt land in Radlett.

Neither will seek leave to appeal against a recent High Court judgement which ordered SoS for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles to reconsider his refusal of the scheme.

Mr Pickles had overruled the planning inspector who recommended approval of the scheme after hearing the second appeal against the district council’s refusal of the plans, which would also include parking for thousands of cars, a new bypass for Park Street and five massive warehouses – one as big as Heathrow’s Terminal Five.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, portfolio holder for planning and conservation, said: “This does not mean that a decision has been taken to allow a rail freight terminal to be built in the Green Belt. This is simply one step in what is a long process.

“The council’s initial view was that we should apply to the judge for permission to appeal but on the basis of further legal advice, an assessment of the risks involved, and after consulting with the leaders of the other political parties, we have decided that the best way to protect the council’s original decision is not to appeal. We will be providing strong representations to the SoS before he comes to his decision on this matter.”

The next stage is for the matter to be referred back to the SoS who will re-determine the matter. It is expected that the Secretary of State will invite all parties to the planning appeal, including the council, to make further representations.