Radlett campaigners STILL want a conjoined inquiry; High Court hearing set for 30th August
While Colnbrook may think the chances of Slough International Freight Exchange (SIFE) going ahead are slim to nothing now that Heathrow has declared its hand, campaigners in Radlett are still pursuing a “conjoined” inquiry with legal action backed up by a relentless war of words!
You thought the SIFE Vs Radlett debate had gone a little quiet? May even gone away for good. Well think again.
St Albans council is currently in the middle of legal action against Mr Pickles’ department after the Secretary of State decided last September not to go ahead with a conjoined public inquiry into the scheme for Radlett Airfield and Colnbrook’s former Tanhouse Gravel Pits site.
The district council’s initial application for a Judicial Review was unsuccessful but it has now been given a provisional date of August 30 in the High Court for an oral hearing before a different High Court judge.
Meanwhile Lib Dem councillor and prospective parliamentary candidate Sandy Walkington has accused Mr Pickles – who has said he is “minded” to approve the Helioslough application for a massive rail freight terminal on the former Radlett Airfield in the Green Belt – of being the “Minister for Forked Tongues”.
It follows a speech Mr Pickles made at this year’s annual conference of the Royal Town Planning Institute in which the Secretary of State commented:
“You can plan for growth but not at any price, so we have been very clear that we must have secure safeguards to protect the Green Belt, that vital green lung which prevents urban sprawl.
“Sometimes I feel politicians in particular forget that it is there, not simply for the beautiful landscapes, but to keep conurbations from running into each other and to protect the nature of what we call home.”
Mr Walkington said: “How hollow these words sound following Mr Pickles’s decision to stab St Albans and Park Street in the back over the freight terminal.
“They say judge a person by his words not deeds. How true. Mr Pickles likes telling people to ‘man up’. Well he should man up and admit that when it comes to the Green Belt, he simply doesn’t mean what he says.”
It’s not clear whether Heathrow’s claim on the land will automatically rule SIFE out given there is no current Planning Application (or appeal) for either.
And a conjoined inquiry that determined Colnbrook to be the more appropriate site may still see the development pushed back to Radlett should Heathrow’s North-West runway option be selected in 2015.
A separate bid by Helioslough to force Mr Pickles to make a final decision on the Radlett scheme was unsuccessful and the company has announced it is not taking its own Judicial Review any further.
If the irony of using a comparison to Heathrow Terminal 5 to illustrate why the massive terminal should be built in Colnbrook rather than Radlett was missed on campaigners before, it surely must be now!
Or perhaps not!
Eric Pickles under fire over Radlett rail freight policy – Herts Advertiser