St Albans loses appeal in £1.5m legal battle over rail interchange

 

St Albans DC has lost its latest appeal in a protracted £1.5m legal battle against the Government’s decision to allow a rail freight terminal on green belt land.

The High Court dismissed the council’s claims that the communities secretary illegally allowed the developers to appeal when planning permission had been refused.

Approval for the development at Radlett, Hertfordshire, was granted in July 2014 by Eric Pickles despite a seven-year local protest campaign. Developers Helioslough Ltd lodged the proposal for a strategic rail freight interchange on the former Radlett Airfield in Park Street in 2006.

Cllr Stephen Bowes-Phipps, who represents the local area, tweeted the decision was a ‘final stab in the back for St Albans’.

St Albans DC had refused planning permission for the interchange twice over fears for its green belt while ministers blocked the proposals in 2010 after the developers appealed.

However a second appeal by developers saw Mr Pickles step in to support the scheme, arguing the benefits outweighed any harm to the landscape.

St Albans’ lawyers argued unsuccessfully to the High Court that because an incinerator on green belt land at Hatfield had been turned down by the government, the planned terminal should be treated the same way.

 
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