Helioslough defiant over St Albans rail freight scheme

PUBLISHED: 10:15 11 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 May 2010

HELIOSLOUGH, the company which wants to build the rail freight depot at Park Street, will argue that there are no grounds to reconsider the 14 reasons for refusal at the pre-inquiry meeting. The company maintains that the grounds for refusal - which inclu

HELIOSLOUGH, the company which wants to build the rail freight depot at Park Street, will argue that there are no grounds to reconsider the 14 reasons for refusal at the pre-inquiry meeting.

The company maintains that the grounds for refusal - which include its Green Belt location - were comprehensively considered at the 2007 public inquiry into the first proposal for a rail freight depot on the former Radlett Airfield.

Its reason for taking such a stand is that the-then Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, ruled that had Helioslough demonstrated that there were no other suitable sites for a rail freight depot in London and the South East, she would "almost certainly" have felt that was sufficient to outweigh the Green Belt and other issues of harm to the district.

As a result, Helioslough intends to ask the inspector at the pre-inquiry hearing in mid September not to rehear evidence about matters on which, they say, a conclusion has already been reached and there has been no material change of circumstances since.

Consequently Helioslough has only given very brief comments on each of the 14 grounds for refusal in their grounds of appeal.

It argues that the only issue to be addressed with regard to the Green Belt issue is the new alternative sites assessment.

And in response to the council's complaint in its fourth reason for refusal that the alternative sites study is inadequate, Helioslough maintain that no more suitable locations are available in either the South East Plan, the London Plan or anywhere else in the region.

The council's fifth reason for rejecting the scheme - that the proposed development is premature in advance of a national policy statement in 2010 - is countered by the argument that prematurity was addressed at the last inquiry and refusing the application of those grounds would lead to a substantial delay in providing further strategic rail freight interchanges in London and the south east.

Helioslough is also arguing that there is no reason to reopen the issues of rail paths for freight trains entering the site, saying that both the Inspector at the previous inquiry and the Secretary of State concluded that it was no reason to refuse the application.

Blob* Larry Heyman, integration and partnership manager for train company First Capital Connect, is the guest speaker at the next meeting of St Albans Civic Society on Wednesday, September 23.

He will be talking on the Thameslink Programme and the Threat from the proposed Rail Freight Interchange from 8pm at the Cross Street Centre in Dagnall Street, St Albans. The meeting is open to all.

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