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Helioslough lobbyist turned down
THE secretary of state for business refused to meet with a lobbyist who wants a rail freight depot to be built in St Albans, it has been revealed.
Simon Hoare, a lobbyist on behalf of developers Helioslough, requested a meeting with Vince Cable to discuss the issue.
However, in a letter dated December 15, 2011, Mr Cable turned down the invitation.
In the typed letter he states: “While I understand that there will be growth benefits for your proposed development at St Albans, our ambition is to see growth taking place in line with local wishes and priorities wherever possible.
“It is only in exceptional cases of national importance that it would be appropriate for BIS to intervene.
“Although rail freight is clearly an important area of infrastructure, there is no shortage of projects, including rail freight projects, that do have local support and that we are seeking to unblock.”
Aislinn Lee, county and district councillor for Park Street and long-time campaigner against the Helioslough proposals, said: “It is really encouraging that he (Vince Cable) at least recognises the strength of local opposition to the scheme and that there are other places where local people do want a rail freight terminal. “Park Street isn't one of them.”
Helioslough wants to build a large depot on the former Radlett Airfield site.
The plans have been met with strong opposition due to the additional traffic and pollution it would bring to the area. In April, the Review reported that Mr Hoare had a private meeting with transport minister Theresa Villiers to discuss the controversial issue. The secretary of state Eric Pickles postponed decision following the introduction of the new National Planning Policy Framework.
A final decision is yet to be made on the plans.