Radlett Airfield homes scheme may scupper St Albans rail freight depot

The proposed site of the Radlett rail freight depot

The proposed site of the Radlett rail freight depot - Credit: Archant

After a decade of campaigning against the contentious St Albans rail freight depot, there is a fresh ray of hope that the scheme might not go ahead after all.

Put the Brakes on Freight - Herts Advertiser campaign

Put the Brakes on Freight - Herts Advertiser campaign - Credit: Archant

Landowner Herts county council (HCC) has offered up the Park Street Green Belt site on the former Radlett airfield to help accommodate 15,000 homes planned for St Albans’ new Local Plan.

If a new Garden Village was built on the site, the much-reviled Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SFRI) would not be able to go ahead.

Campaigners have been fighting against SRFI for more than a decade - many believed the fight was lost when developers Helioslough were given outline planning permission in 2014.

Leader of HCC David Williams said: “We’ve always said that we’d prefer the Radlett airfield site to remain as Green Belt and that we’d rather not sell it, but we recognise that we need to build 90,000 new homes in the county over the next 15 years and some 13,700 of those will need to be in the St Albans district.

“That’s why it makes sense for us to offer up this land, which we own, as a possible site for a Garden Village with 2,000 new homes and the infrastructure to support them.

“We know that developers are interested in this idea and we feel it could be an alternative to using the land for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange.”

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He said the land could make a significant contribution to providing new homes for a growing population.

HCC has also offered rural estate land south and north of Napsbury, land east of Kay Walk, land at Stephens Way and Flamsteadbury Lane in Redbourn, rural estate land at Waterdell, adjacent to Mount Pleasant JMI, rural estate land at Highfield Farm, Tyttenhanger, and the Carpenter’s Nursery in Sandridge.