Politicians react to Radlett Airfield homes scheme

PUBLISHED: 07:30 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:19 22 February 2018

Oliver Dowden and Anne Main at Rail Freight protest.

Oliver Dowden and Anne Main at Rail Freight protest.

Archant

Politicians fighting the rail freight depot have welcomed news that the site may be used for housing instead.

St Albans MP Anne Main has recently been lobbying Network Rail for transparency on how a passenger line would work alongside the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SFRI).

She believes when a rail depot was found to be impractical, Helioslough would refocus its attention and create a lorry depot.

Mrs Main said an SRFI would be a blight on the landscape: “We all accept that housing is needed and this site would be far better placed for just that.

“The community here need more houses, not a large rail freight terminal that would add major pressures to our transport links. Also, building homes on this site will go towards protecting other Green Belt sites around the county. The proposal has my full support.”

Kerry Pollard, St Albans MP from 1997-2005, said he was a lone voice when he suggested houses for the site 18 years ago.

“A comparison of the two options: SRFI with lorries 24/7 thundering through our streets, Park Street a nightmare with queuing lorries, pollution, house values plummeting, also affecting wider St Albans and Radlett with heavy lorry traffic and the associated pollution and disruption – it will change the character of our beloved St Albans.

“We desperately need more homes in St Albans of all tenures – for sale, rent, affordable, shared ownership, giving our young people a chance. Homes on this site would protect every other Green Belt site under threat throughout wider St Albans, allied to that a created woodland with public use and access, a potential wildlife sanctuary, a much needed new primary school, a village bypass serving both Park Street and Radlett and finally the re-opening of the Napsbury Station to serve both Park Street and London Colney.”

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden has campaigned with Anne Main against SRFI: “I’ve always said I do not want any development of this Green Belt land, but if it must be developed, it is ludicrous that the site can have planning permission for a rail freight terminal, yet bids for desperately needed homes cannot be considered.

“This must now be reviewed in order to provide our community with those new homes, and to prevent an unnecessary freight terminal that would blight our precious countryside.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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