St Albans district council confirms intention to appeal rail freight ruling

AN APPEAL against a High Court judgement in favour of rail freight developers Helioslough will be pursued by the district council, it has confirmed.

St Albans district council is to seek leave to appeal against the ruling that requires the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, to reconsider his refusal of planning permission for the massive 3.5 million square foot scheme on the former Radlett Airfield in Park Street.

He over-ruled the government planning inspector that heard the second public inquiry into the district council’s refusal of the development on Green Belt land, which was to also include parking for thousands of cars, five large warehouses – one as big as Heathrow’s Terminal Five – and a new bypass for Park Street.

But following a two-day hearing last week, Judge Milwyn Jarman QC quashed his decision on one of four grounds of challenge by Helioslough – that he failed to make clear in his judgement that he fully understood the importance of the Strategic Gap between London and Slough on which he said that an alternative scheme could meet the need for such a development without causing as much harm to the Green Belt.

The Judge has given the Secretary of State, the council and Goodman Ltd – the developers behind the alternative scheme in Colnbrook – until Monday to make a written application for permission to appeal his decision to the Court of Appeal.

The council has now confirmed that it intends to submit an application for permission to appeal within this deadline.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, portfolio holder for planning and conservation, said: “The council was disappointed with the judgment. We have decided to apply to the judge for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.”