Developers Fight Their Corner At Rail Freight Inquiry

PUBLISHED: 15:46 08 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

HELIOSLOUGH have started giving their evidence to support their proposal for a huge rail freight proposal on Green Belt land in Park Street. Their planning and alternative sites witness Richard Tilley has insisted that the developers new alternative site

HELIOSLOUGH have started giving their evidence to support their proposal for a huge rail freight proposal on Green Belt land in Park Street.

Their planning and alternative sites witness Richard Tilley has insisted that the developers' new alternative sites survey addresses and overcomes the concerns raised by the planning inspector and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Hazel Blears after the first public inquiry in 2007.

Ms Blears said in her decision letter that the harm to the Green Belt was capable of being outweighed had Helioslough proved that Radlett was the very best site in the northwest quadrant of the M25.

Having addressed the issue, Mr Tilley claimed that there were no other material changes in circumstances since that decision and therefore the very special circumstances needed to build on the Green Belt now existed.

Mr Tilley said the council's alternative sites report was flawed and inappropriately favoured a proposed site in Colnbrook, Berkshire, where one planning appeal has been rejected.

He said Radlett was a less sensitive location than Colnbrook as the inspector and Secretary of State agreed that the gap between Slough and London needed preserving.

Mr Tilley went on to accuse the council of breaching guidelines in relation to the conduct of appeals with their audit of Helioslough's alternative site assessment.

He has also criticised the council's entire approach to the planning appeal.

He said: "This has been to raise at the outset all the same questions that were discussed at the last public inquiry, and then in substance to seek to reargue the points.

"This does not demonstrate that the council is seeking to genuinely test the comparative merits of the appeal site for the development of an SRFI, and thus assist the Inspector and Secretary of State in coming to a view as to whether there is a site that is genuinely better.

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