Delight for couple

PUBLISHED: 13:04 07 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 06 May 2010

FEW people would have been as relieved to hear the news that Helioslough s appeal had been refused as Barbara and Alan Poulter were. The elderly couple who live in Radlett Road, Frogmore, faced the prospect of living metres from the entrance to the rail f

FEW people would have been as relieved to hear the news that Helioslough's appeal had been refused as Barbara and Alan Poulter were.

The elderly couple who live in Radlett Road, Frogmore, faced the prospect of living metres from the entrance to the rail freight depot on the former Radlett Airfield.

Mr and Mrs Poulter, aged 81 and 78 respectively, brought home the human cost to living alongside a massive terminal during the planning inquiry when they made a moving plea to the planning inspector to reject the proposals.

They turned down Helioslough's offer of a five-year option agreement on their home in 2005 which would have meant the developers could buy their home at any time, leaving the couple - who are both registered disabled - with just six months to move.

But they changed their minds on discovering the access to the proposed bypass was planned for land almost beside their front door and that a large roundabout servicing traffic from the A414 was planned for behind their back garden.

The couple said that when they approached Helioslough again to take up the offer they were told the company was no longer interested in buying their home where they have lived since relocating from London in the 1980s.

After being given the news that the council's refusal of planning permission had been upheld, Mrs Poulter said: "We are absolutely relieved to be quite honest. This has been hanging over our heads for three years and it has really been a very anxious time.

"We said we wanted to move up here because of all the country. There were cows on the field then and 22 years on the prospect of a rail freight terminal instead was really daunting."

She added: "Our house badly wanted painting and we had great big trees that we wanted chopping down and we have put it all on hold because we didn't want to spend a lot of cash. We wouldn't have been able to live here if it had have gone ahead. It would have really been very traumatic."

Speaking about the couple's case, MP for St Albans Anne Main said: "I am delighted that the blight of a rail freight interchange on Mr and Mrs Poulter's back door has been lifted. Their quality of life and that of other residents who immediately abounded the site, would have been severely diminished. The fight and consistent pressure to dismiss this proposal has been completely justified. Other much more appropriate sites must be found.

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