Secretary of State delays decision on planning permission for proposed rail freight interchange in Park Street

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News release: 30 March 2012
2012-07-13 Rail Homepage

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has written to St Albans City and District Council to say that he has decided to delay his decision on whether or not to grant planning permission for a rail freight interchange on land in and around the Radlett aerodrome site in Park Street.

St Albans City & District Council was informed of the Secretary of State’s decision in a letter dated 29 March 2012.  

In his letter, the Secretary of State refers to the National Planning Policy Framework which came into force on 27 March. 

The Secretary of State has invited parties to comment on the relevance, if any, of the National Planning Policy Framework to the case by 16 April. The letter indicates that the Secretary of State will then proceed to a final decision, taking all comments into account.

The Secretary of State also says that he considers that he will not be in a position to reach a decision on the appeal by 5 April 2012, as previously notified, because of the need to allow parties time to submit further representations.  He has therefore varied the timetable for his decision indicating that he will now issue his decision on or before 13 June 2012.

The Council will be submitting further representations in response to the Secretary of State's letter, by 16th April.

Background

Following an appeal by Helioslough Ltd, against St Albans City & District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a rail freight interchange on land in and around the former Radlett aerodrome in Park Street, a Public Inquiry was held in November and December 2009.  This culminated in the Secretary of State, in a decision dated 7 July 2010, to dismiss the appeal. 

The Council, in its original planning decision, considered that the rail freight proposal would cause harm to the Green Belt and would be contrary to the Development Plan.

Helioslough challenged the Secretary of State’s July 2010 decision in the High Court and on 1 July 2011, a High Court Judge quashed the decision on the basis of one of four grounds of challenge put forward by Helioslough.  St Albans City & District Council was a second defendant in the case.  The Judge found that the Secretary of State did not properly explain his reasons for disagreeing with the Planning Inspector’s recommendation of March 2010 that the proposed development be allowed.

The High Court referred the matter back to the Secretary of State to re-determine.  He invited the parties to make further written representations. In a letter dated 29 March 2012, the Secretary of State has decided to delay his decision to invite further representations following the publishing of the National Planning Policy Framework which came into force on 27 March.

Member contact:

Cllr Teresa Heritage, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation, St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 01582 761014;  Mobile: 07866 458977 

Contact for the press:

Claire Wainwright, Principal Communications and Marketing Officer, St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 01727 819572. E-mail: claire.wainwright@stalbans.gov.uk

www.stalbans.gov.uk