Beds, Herts & Bucks

Radlett rail depot: Helioslough refused judicial review

A developer has been refused permission to try and force the government to make a final ruling on plans for a rail depot on Hertfordshire greenbelt land.

Helioslough Ltd applied for a judicial review to force through permission to develop Radlett Airfield.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said he was "minded to grant approval".

Deputy High Court Judge John Howell said Mr Pickles had no legal obligation to make a decision by June 2012, the time set in a schedule.

The judge said submissions by Helioslough fell short of his need to clarify the issues.

Details of conditions requested by St Albans City Council had not been submitted by Helioslough.

The application, already subjected to two planning appeals, is bogged down in legal action, he said.

This made it impossible for him to fully consider the options faced by the Secretary of State.

Bid to force issue

"Whilst the failure of the Secretary of State and the council to produce the relevant submissions is unimpressive, the burden remains on the claimant (Helioslough) to show that it has an arguable case," the judge said.

He added the developers had failed in this task and refused a judicial review.

Helioslough said its plans came out of government policies to boost transport of goods by rail and a terminal was needed to serve south-east England.

Mr Pickles briefly examined the Radlett development alongside an inquiry into a similar scheme at Colnbrook, near Slough.

But in December he decided he could determine the Radlett proposal on its own and said he was "minded to approve" it subject to various conditions.

This final decision has not been made and Helioslough attempted to force the issue in the High Court.

A spokeswoman for the company said it would now "review and consider its options".

St Albans council leader Julian Daly said: "It is perfectly reasonable for the Secretary of State to take the time he needs to make a decision on something of such importance to the local community.

"The council was right in its original decision to oppose the scheme and our position remains the same."

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