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Garden village scheme mooted for Hertfordshire rail freight interchange site

Published: Thursday, 14th July 2016

County council would prefer to see the area retain green belt status, but is prepared to consider alternatives as it may be forced to sell the land...

Hertfordshire County Council has confirmed it has been approached by developers wanting to build a garden village on its land at the former Radlett airfield near St Albans. The land is currently earmarked for Helioslough Ltd’s controversial proposals for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SFRI). The 119 hectare site is used for grazing at present.

The developer, Taylor Wimpey North Thames, has proposed the site should be used for a new garden village of 2,000 new homes, community services with main accesses taken off the A414 to the north and the A5183 to the south-west, linked by a central boulevard. A park and ride facility and a guided bus way have also been suggested.

The house-builder’s interest was triggered after the county council actively sought alternative uses to Helioslough’s plans for a rail freight facility.

Robert Gordon, leader of the county council, said: “Our prime duty is to the residents of Hertfordshire, and we remain opposed to the proposed development of a SFRI on the county council’s land at the former Radlett airfield.

“We would prefer not to see a change in the current green belt status of this land and would also prefer not to sell it. However, it is possible that circumstances might arise where we have no lawful alternative but to sell.

A report to the council’s Resources and Performance Cabinet Panel noted that if planning permission for a residential scheme of around 2,000 dwellings was granted “having regard to the pattern of land use values in Hertfordshire, the site value for that use would significantly exceed its value for use as an SRFI”.

The bid to build a new £300m SFRI at Radlett has been underway since 2007 and has involved planning inquiries and court action.

Roger Milne