Published: Thursday, 21st July 2016
Former Communities Secretary Greg Clark dismisses appeal for a proposed road and rail freight interchange on metropolitan green belt land north of the A4 Colnbrook bypass…
In one of his last decisions former Communities Secretary Greg Clark last week dismissed an appeal over a proposed road/rail freight interchange on land north of the A4 Colnbrook bypass on the western flank of Slough close to Heathrow airport. The stance of the then SoS was in line with the recommendation of the planning inspector who held the recovered appeal inquiry. The site involved was in metropolitan green belt.
The development involved plans for an intermodal terminal and some 194,836 square metres of Class B8 distribution units. The scheme included railway sidings with a connection to the Colnbrook branch line and an intermodal terminal incorporating two overhead gantry cranes and external container storage. In addition the proposals include associated landscaping, access, parking and servicing areas as well as a lorry parking area including facilities for drivers.
Clark accepted the inspector’s conclusions that although the proposals would represent a large-scale commercial operation, in the broad landscape context the impact would be negligible. However both the then SoS and the inspector acknowledged that at the local level the harm would be more significant.
Clark’s decision letter said the scheme was inappropriate development and by definition harmful to the green belt.
He also said the development was contrary to the local core strategy and national policy as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. In addition he found localised harm to the Colne Valley Park.