Stand up and be counted in Park Street rail frieght fight

RAIL freight objectors are pulling out all the stops in the next 10 days to persuade councillors and the public that they must fight the second bid to build the giant scheme. In the run-up to the crucial St Albans council planning meeting to determine the

RAIL freight objectors are pulling out all the stops in the next 10 days to persuade councillors and the public that they must fight the second bid to build the giant scheme.

In the run-up to the crucial St Albans council planning meeting to determine the Helioslough application for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) on Radlett Airfield, protest group STRiFE - Stop the Rail Freight Exchange - is holding a demo this Saturday and urging supporters to attend the Hertsmere Borough Council planning meeting next Wednesday.

And there was some good news this week as it transpired that train company First Capital Connect (FCC) has written to the council confirming that building a rail freight depot in Park Street would be a disaster for their passengers.

There are also indications that Network Rail, which is responsible for the rail infrastructure, is unable to guarantee freight pathways into the site.


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Helioslough has submitted a second planning application for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) on Radlett Airfield after losing the first bid on appeal last year.

The new scheme, which is substantially the same as the previous one, includes 3.5million sq.ft. of warehousing in five buildings, associated road, rail and other infrastructure and parking for hundreds of cars and lorries.

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Helioslough is also proposing to build a Park Street relief road and provide a country park.

STRiFE is holding its demo at 11am on Saturday outside the Alban Arena which will be addressed by their spokesperson Cathy Bolshaw with St Albans MP Anne Main and the two prospective parliamentary candidates, Labour's Roma Mills and Sandy Walkington for the Lib-Dems.

Cathy said this week: "The demo is really to raise awareness and the profile of the issue and give people an opportunity to show their support."

Next Wednesday, July 15, neighbouring Hertsmere Borough Council will be putting together their comments on the Helioslough scheme.

STRiFE will have a speaker at the meeting which is being held at 7.30pm in the council offices, Elstree Way, Boreham-wood.

Just five days later, on Monday, July 20, St Albans council's main planning referrals committee will be considering the application at a meeting at 7pm in the Alban Arena.

MP Anne Main said this week that she and STRiFE had met FCC over the SRFI issue and Network Rail had admitted to the train company that it could not guarantee freight pathways into the site.

She also pointed out that the big change since the last Helioslough application was that work on the Thameslink Programme - formerly Thameslink 2000 - was now going ahead to upgrade the line. She added: "The fact that Network Rail cannot guarantee freight pathways on this line means it would not be the right place for a strategic rail freight depot."

l A new online petition for objections to the SRFI has been set up on the 10 Downing Street website. More than 400 people have signed it and it can be accessed at http:// petitions.number10.gov.uk/ StopRailFreight

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