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Rail freight judicial review plea quashed

28 June 2024

Campaigners looking to stop the development of a strategic rail freight scheme in Hertfordshire have had their pea for a judicial review regarding the sale of the land by the council thrown out in the high court.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

CAMPAIGNERS AGAINST the development of the former Radlett Aerodrome into a strategic rail freight interchange supported by 3.6 million ft2 of industrial and logistics space were seeking a judicial review against Hertfordshire Council’s decision to sell the land last year claiming that a law dating back to before the Second World War precludes the local council from selling the land.

SEGRO bought the 1,035-acre site in the Upper Colne Valley, Hertfordshire from Hertfordshire County Council, Tarmac Plc and Gorhambury Estates Company bringing all three land holdings making up the site under one ownership last summer for £120 million.

The company has been involved with the site in one form or another since 2008. The battle to secure planning has been extremely controversial with St Albans Council, local MPs and campaigners, taking a strong stance against the development leading to a variety of legal battles and judicial reviews.

SEGRO received planning permission from the Secretary of State for the development, which is recognised by the Government as nationally significant infrastructure that will deliver major benefits on a national, regional and local scale. It will also form a key part of the UK’s modal shift from road to rail and help meet the country’s net-zero ambitions.

It is anticipated that the completed scheme will deliver around 4,000 jobs, with a further c. 500 jobs generated on site during construction.

In line with the Company’s Responsible SEGRO commitments to Champion low-carbon growth and Invest in its local communities and environments, the development will incorporate a 610 acre country park surrounding the terminal. The park will include a 10-mile network of footpaths and recreational features including a trim trail, outdoor gym, new children’s play areas, new bird watching hides and a Visitor Interpretation Centre. Over 4,000 trees and 132,000 saplings will be planted, while the local habitat will be enhanced by creating new ponds and nesting sites.

In addition to employment opportunities and environmental considerations, the development will stimulate economic growth and enhance local infrastructure. SEGRO is committed to a significant investment programme to fund new traffic relieving measures, including £22 million to fund a new 1.4-mile stretch of relief road for Park Street / Frogmore to alleviate traffic on the A5183, and it is estimated that the completed scheme will deliver around £12 million each year in business rates.

Campaigners are understood to be considering an appeal.