County council bosses will now rethink whether to sell a 300-acre Green Belt site near Park Street to make way for a rail freight terminal, following the Government’s final approval yesterday.

Councillor Derrick Ashley said the county council would now "take a view on the disposal of its own land" after Secretary of State Eric Pickles rubber-stamped the controversial development yesterday.

The decision has come as a blow to campaigners who have fought against the development for eight years in order to protect the Green Belt site, which was estimated at a value of £1.7million, and would be "ten times that" if sold to the rail freight scheme.

Hertfordshire County Council said although "factors weighing in favour of the development do not outweigh the harm it will cause" it will now take in to account the alternative uses and purposes of the land and how it will fulfil its "financially responsibility as owners of public assets".

During a cabinet meeting in December last year county council deferred its decision to sell the former Radlett aerodrome site.

Derrick Ashley, county council cabinet member for resources, said: "It is with regret that the county council has learned of the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for the construction of a rail freight terminal on land in and around the former Radlett aerodrome.

"The county council remains of the view, expressed in the minutes of its cabinet meeting in December, that factors weighing in favour of the development do not outweigh the harm it will cause. This view was relayed to the Secretary of State.

"Given that planning consent has now been granted, the council will have to take a view on the disposal of its own land and in doing so, will take into account the purposes for which it holds the land, any alternative uses available and how we fulfil our financial responsibility as owners of public assets."