St Albans council continues Radlett Airfield greenbelt legal fight

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A Hertfordshire council is continuing its legal fight to prevent a rail depot being built on greenbelt land.

St Albans council wants the planning inquiry for the Radlett Airfield plans reopened and looked at in conjunction with a similar scheme in Berkshire.

But the communities secretary refused, and an application for a judicial review of his decision was turned down at the High Court last week.

The council is now seeking an oral hearing before another judge.

Planning permission for the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) was originally refused by St Albans council in 2009.

'Flawed' decision

Developer HelioSlough Ltd said its plans followed government policies to transport goods by rail and argued that the terminal was needed to serve south-east England.

In September 2012 - following two appeals - Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said he was considering looking at the plans for the Radlett development alongside an inquiry into a similar scheme at Colnbrook, near Slough in Berkshire.

But in December he decided he could determine the Radlett proposal on its own and said he was "minded to approve" planning permission, subject to various conditions. A final decision has not been made.

St Albans City and District Council applied for a judicial review in February on the grounds the minister's decision was "flawed".

But last week, a High Court judge said there was no evidence to show Mr Pickles' decision was "in any way legally flawed" and, because no decision had been made, the claim was "premature".

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