Video: Couple send out their own message to Helioslough over Rail Freight Terminal
PUBLISHED: 10:01 03 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 May 2010
CAPTIVATED by a view of fields and the prospect of village life, Barbara and Alan Poulter upped sticks in Harrow and moved into their dream home in Park Street 24 years ago. It was the house where they intended to live out the rest of their days, waking
CAPTIVATED by a view of fields and the prospect of village life, Barbara and Alan Poulter upped sticks in Harrow and moved into their dream home in Park Street 24 years ago.
It was the house where they intended to live out the rest of their days, waking up each morning to a stunning view across the countryside of the former Radlett Airfield and enjoying the peace of their well-tended garden.
Then, Lafarge started extracting gravel from the land and a bund was built behind their house in Radlett Road to shield the view of diggers.
But there was always the promise that the land would be returned to its former glory as beautiful Green Belt land before it was handed it back to the county council.
Never did Mr and Mrs Poulter, aged 82 and 79 respectively, ever once contemplate the prospect of five massive warehouses - one bigger than Heathrow's Terminal Five - looming up on the land and a bypass being built directly next to their boundary.
But that is exactly what they were forced to face with when Helioslough revealed their plans to build a massive rail freight terminal on the land, together with a Park Street bypass and other associated infrastructure.
In 2005 developers Helioslough asked the couple to consider a five-year option agreement worth £5,000, which would have meant the developers could buy their home at any point during that time.
Mr and Mrs Poulter did not know the extent of the plans and were concerned that they would only have six months to leave so they declined the offer.
But after realising that the bypass would fall just a couple of metres from their house and a roundabout would sit at the back of their garden, from which the rail freight terminal would be accessed, Mr and Mrs Poulter changed their minds.
By then Helioslough was no longer interested in buying their home and the couple have lived in constant fear of the future ever since.
Despite the black clouds lifting in October last year, when the original plans were fought off by the district council and STRiFE after a public inquiry, they soon descended again when Helioslough confirmed that they were coming back with the same plans.
Reporter Aimee Brannen talks to them about how the rail freight depot has cast a shadow over their lives.