The Radlett rail freight depot has been given the go-ahead today in a shock move by Minister Eric Pickles, in what will no doubt be a devastating Christmas present to the campaigners there.
St Albans MP Anne Main, who has fought against the scheme, said:
“I am devastated on behalf of constituents who fought long and hard against this mindless act of vandalism. When the Minister discussed this with me I made it clear how angry I was and I find the decision incomprehensible.”
Coming just a week after he rejected a “conjoined” public inquiry with Colnbrook, Pickles’ move has surprised everybody after a six and a half year fight and two previous public inquiries.
The impact on the Colnbrook SIFE development is far from clear. A conjoined Inquiry would have indicated only one of the two schemes would be given the go-ahead. However, road to rail proponents have long called for a network of at least 4 Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFIs) around London.
News of Eric Pickles’ decision not to hold a “conjoined” public inquiry for the rival SIFE and Radlett proposals has not gone down well with Hertsmere MP James Clappison. He said this week the case against the Radlett rail freight interchange is “overwhelming” and it would be “undesirable” for Mr Pickles to give the go-ahead without a public inquiry.
THE public inquiry into converting a plot of land into a village green in Wraysbury has been completed. Results will be known within two months.
St Albans Council has welcomed Eric Pickle’s proposal to reopen the Public Inquiry into the Radlett SRFI, claiming that a new Inquiry conjoined with that for SIFE would allow the Council to demonstrate that “the Colnbrook proposal would cause less harm to the Green Belt”.
A residents action group in neighbouring Wraysbury is fighting to have a large field in the centre of village awarded Village Green status. The Public Inquiry into the matter has been extended to allow a further week of hearings in what, if granted, could also be a positive development for the wider Colne Valley regional park.
The stopSIFE campaign today launches an e-petition on the Government website with a plea to all residents to sign. Under the revised scheme set up in July 2011 if an e-petition gets at least 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.
The Planning Inspectorate has today overturned its previous advice and confirmed that October’s Inquiry into the SIFE development WILL be delayed until after a decision on rival site Radlett, giving the clearest indication yet that the Government will ultimately decide on one or other of the two rival sites.
The Biffa landfill site on Sutton Lane accepted the last consignment of waste at the end of September and now begins the final capping off procedure. Over the winter months they will be accepting deliveries of clay and topsoil in order that the return to agricultural use can commence at the earliest possible time. It is anticipated that the landscaping work will be completed by the end of September 2012.
The Planning Committee tonight unanimously rejected the SIFE application, as expected. But while residents failed to get behind the campaign in significant numbers, Helioslough Ltd submitted late additional information in support of their view that their competing site at Radlett would perform better as an SRFI, directly pitting themselves against developer Goodman.
New Parish Council chairman Peter Hood has angered members of the stopSIFE campaign for his attack on “vulgar” banners at either end of the village.
A date has been set for the Radlett Rail Freight terminal High Court battle which has major implications for the proposed Slough International Freight Interchange at Colnbrook.
Colnbrook based construction company McArdles has launched a Green Belt grab bid to avoid forking out £60K an acre for storage sites locally. That despite declaring a 54% hike in profits in its last financial statements!