Hopes for Slough replacement of Park Street rail freight dampened
PUBLISHED: 06:04 17 August 2015
Lingering hopes that a rail freight depot near Slough could be preferred to one at Radlett Airfield look set be dispelled.
For Helioslough, the company which has planning permission to build a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) on the Green Belt former airfield in Park Street, have joined forces with Goodman Logistics that wants to build a Slough International Freight Exchange (SIFE) at Colnbrook.
After six years spent opposing each other’s rail freight plans, the two companies have come up with a statement of common ground for a forthcoming public inquiry in which Helioslough says that it accepts the SIFE could be built and co-exist with the SRFI in Park Street.
Instead of opposing it on the grounds that it might be considered as an alternative to the SRFI, Helioslough now considers that the Colnbrook SIFE could function as a ‘complementary facility’.
The company maintains that as Radlett Airfield has planning permission, it should be regarded as the first in a network of SRFI facilities with the SIFE, if it is approved following the inquiry, treated as the second in the line of such facilities to serve London and the South East.
The statement of common ground says that in its case to the Secretary of State at the inquiry, Goodman will not argue that the SIFE is in any material respect preferable to Radlett.
That dashes hopes expressed by local campaigners that there might still be an argument for Colnbrook to be developed as a rail freight exchange rather than Radlett Airfield.
It had been fostered because in 2012 the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, had proposed a conjoined public inquiry into both the Slough and Park Street schemes but only months later he granted planning permission to Helioslough.