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Politicians “uneasy” over rail freight terminal near Radlett after Secretary of State rejects public inquiry
St Albans politicians have been left feeling “uneasy” over controversial proposals for a rail freight terminal near Radlett after the Secretary of State has announced a public inquiry is now “unnecessary”.
On Friday, December 14 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, announced he was “satisfied” that he will determine the Radlett proposal, described as the "biggest planning application Hertfordshire has ever seen" on the basis of the evidence before him.
London Colney Councillor Jacob Quagliozzi said the “shocking” decision not to open a public inquiry, left him feeling “uneasy”.
Councillor Quagliozzi, Labour representative, said: “I am in complete shock.
“Now there is more uncertainty for residents in St Albans and is certainly a worrying development.
“I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.”
The decision comes after Mr Pickles invited views on reopening the inquiry for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) on the former Radlett Airfield to be conjoined with plans for a rail freight depot in Colnbrook, Slough.
However Mr Pickles said after “careful consideration” it was “unnecessary” to conjoin the plans for both rail freight's.
London Colney Councillor Dreda Gordon said: “I am totally surprised and it is a shame that it will not go forward for public inquiry.
“People that would have been affected by the rail freight in our city will now not have the chance to express their opinions.
“It is worrying but we will just have to watch this space.”
The Secretary of State had already deferred the Helioslough proposal twice and now residents and councillors will await his final decision, of which a date has not yet been confirmed.
Hertsmere MP, James Clappison, said: “The case against it the rail freight is overwhelming and it would be undesirable for Mr Pickles to give the go ahead without a public inquiry.
“I hope he makes the decision to outright reject the plans.
“We will now have to wait and see if he makes the right decision.”