Rail freight depot developers make final plea to inquiry

PUBLISHED: 11:09 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

HELIOSLOUGH set out to discredit arguments put forward by the district council and STRiFE when making their closing submission to the public inquiry. Speaking on Friday, the developers insisted that the Secretary of State s (SoS) decision letter following

HELIOSLOUGH set out to discredit arguments put forward by the district council and STRiFE when making their closing submission to the public inquiry.

Speaking on Friday, the developers insisted that the Secretary of State's (SoS) decision letter following the last inquiry into the proposals for the massive rail freight depot in Park Street should be the basis the planning inspector's decision.

Barrister Martin Kingston also told inspector Andrew Mead that he should not "remake" judgements or reconsider issues included within the decision letter in the absence of any material changes in circumstances.

The-then SoS for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, said if Helioslough had proved that Radlett was the very best site within the northwest quadrant of the M25, it might have been capable of outweighing any harm to the Green Belt, pollution and noise.

Helioslough insist that they have ironed out the flaws in their original alternative sites assessment and should therefore be granted permission.

Mr Kingston said "The SoS has given a very clear steer to Helioslough as to what it is required to address in order to secure permission" and he added that it would therefore be "unfair, inconsistent and unreasonable to move goalposts."

He continued: "It is entirely inappropriate for the parties to go behind those conclusions without any material changes in circumstances and, with respect, it would be inappropriate for the inspector now to question or revisit the merits of the earlier conclusions of the SoS."

Helioslough also responded to an issue regarding trip generation raised by Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Sandy Walkington and his colleague and warehouse expert David Parry, which was revealed by the Herts Advertiser last month.

The pair pointed out that the estimated HGV movements were calculated from an extrapolation from figures at other existing rail freight depots.

That was based on floor space and they claimed the proposed warehouses were much taller - which, they argued, resulted in a 50 per cent underestimation of lorry movements.

But Mr Kingston said it was "supported by no evidence on any correlation between height/volume and HGV movements" and argued that the point was not referred to in any guidance or methodology.

He added: "The point amounts to little more than an assertion by people who, with respect, have no expertise in highway analysis, trip generation or the operation of warehouses."

Mr Kingston also slammed the alternative sites assessment conducted by the council and insisted that the Radlett site was the very best for such a development.

In addition he attempted to discredit issues raised on noise, pollution and damage to the Green Belt, and hit out at claims that rail pathways for freight trains would not be available.

Although he said the pathways could not be guaranteed in the absence of the new Thameslink timetable in 2015, he maintained that Network Rail's assurances should be accorded "very significant weight.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Herts Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Herts Advertiser