Park Street rail freight: Politicians powerless over final decision (From St Albans & Harpenden Review)
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Park Street rail freight: Politicians powerless over final decision
Politicians say they are powerless to have their say against the decision to build a rail freight terminal in Park Street.
At a Hertfordshire County Council cabinet meeting yesterday (Monday) leader of the council Councillor Robert Gordon said the decision was now "out of their hands".
Councillor Gordon said the county council may ask the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, for more time to discuss implications if the plans were to go forward.
These include how much the developer would pay towards public services including schools, transportation and footpaths.
Councillor Gordon said they wanted to ensure the job was completed thoroughly.
He said: "There is a planning hierarchy, what with the Secretary of State having more influence than our own combined or personal views.
"This is a very complex and controversial subject and we may ask for an extension on the time we have to discuss a 106 agreement and the impact if plans are to go forward."
The county council currently has until February 28 to make their recommendations and Councillor Gordon suggested they may ask for a month’s extension until March 28. In September last year Mr Pickles agreed to look at the rail freight plans in conjunction with a similar appeal in Colnbrook in Slough.
However he went against this in December and decided not to call them in for reconsideration.
Mr Pickles announced he was minded to grant planning permission despite strong objections from local residents and councillors who have been fighting the proposals to develop the former Radlett Aerodrome site for years.
Councillor Aislinn Lee said: "I was very pleased to hear Councillor Gordon say he may ask for an extension in the time we have to discuss the implications of this major development.
"If the Secretary of State goes against St Albans and formally approves these plans, the county council has to be prepared for the ramifications and implications it will have on St Albans and the wider area of Hertfordshire."