BBC report 1 May 2013

Here is BBC broadcast where he is saying that local people should have the say in what planning propositions are approved. 

Seems like he has lost his backbone...

STRiFE Press Release 05.12.2011

The joint statement published by the Department for Transport (DfT) on 29th November 2011 indicates possible changes in legislation in so far as major infrastructure projects are concerned, however nothing has been announced that alters the current situation regarding the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange proposal near St Albans.

Pending the publication of the DfT’s consultation document on the National Networks National Policy Statement, an interim statement has also been published on current Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) policy. Whereas this is shorter and more concise, it does not in our opinion differ fundamentally from the SRFI policy document published by the Strategic Rail Authority in 2004.

STRiFE are seeking legal advice on the invitation by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Pickles) to submit further representations on the DfT document and will make these public in due course. For up to date information please see our website and we thank everyone for their continued support.



STRiFE would like to remind all of our supporters, that the High Court proceedings between Helioslough Ltd and The Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, St Albans District Council, Goodmans plc and STRiFE commences on 28th June, for 2 and ½ days.

There is a Public Gallery, and the Public are welcome to watch the proceedings, however, if there are a lot of people wanting to watch, the Court may need to alter which Court is used so as to be able to accommodate everyone. If you intend to visit the Court, please could you email to let us know asap, and we can advise the Court accordingly.

We have today submitted our written evidence to the Court, and the other parties, as we have decided to conserve our funding, and STRiFE will not have our Barrister appear at these proceedings.

We will put our evidence on our website, very shortly, and the other Parties’ as soon as we are legally allowed.

Many thanks to everyone for their continued support, and we can assure you all that the STRiFE team are committed to fighting this monstrous proposal, as long as we need to, to try and protect this very important area of Green Belt land once and for all.



05th Jan 2010. STRiFE have just heard that the Decision on the Inquiry into the Appeal, by the Secretary of State, will be issued on or before 23rd June 2010.

We will of course, keep you updated with any information that we receive.

Many thanks for your continued support!



STRiFE would like to thank everyone for the enormous amount of support that we have received during the course of the Public Inquiry which concluded on Friday 18th December.

The money that people very generously gave STRiFE meant that we could have Paul Stinchcombe our barrister, and his junior Ned Helme present at the Inquiry for most of the time which was extremely helpful to our cause, as he could cross examine Helioslough’s witnesses and enabled him to fully prepare for our Closing Statement which he presented to the Inquiry on Thursday. A copy of this is available to view at our website and all the Closing Statements are available to view at .

St Albans District Council presented a very robust case and STRiFE supported them all the way. Helioslough took one angle of attack and effectively put all their eggs in one basket which we consider to be a dangerous tactic (for them), which hopefully will backfire on them!

STRiFE consider that the train pathing issues, with the likelihood that the train movements will be restricted to late evening and overnight, thus the terminal would not act as an SRFI as set out in the existing policy, would remove the VERY special circumstances for developing in Green Belt. Also, we think that the Alternative Sites Assessment was again wholly unconvincing, and therefore could not demonstrate whether or not there were any sites more suited to an SRFI than Radlett.

Having heard all the evidence, and trying to be impartial STRiFE consider that our chances are pretty good. We can only hope that common sense prevails and that if there is any justice in the planning system this monstrous application will be rejected once and for all.

Thank you!



STRiFE Press Release 16.11.09

 STRiFE are urging everyone to attend the first day of the Public Inquiry into the Proposal for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange on the former Radlett Aerodrome site, south of St Albans.  It will start at 10am at the Council Offices in St Peters Street, St Albans, on Tuesday 24 November 2009.  Please be there to show the Inspector just how much opposition there is to this monstrous development on our Green Belt land.  Please meet outside the Council offices at 9.30 where we will hold a demonstration.

 The Council, Helioslough and STRiFE will be issuing our Opening Statements in the morning, and this will be webcast.  It is a PUBLIC Inquiry, and the public are allowed to attend throughout the 4 weeks, held Tuesday to Friday 10 – 5.  Please do come along on Tuesday and at any time and show your support to STRiFE.

 If you would like to present your views to the Inspector, then you need to inform Lesley Young the Programme Officer, and supply her with your name, the name of the group you wish to represent and contact information by next Monday 23 November.  Then you will need to supply her with a copy of your evidence, in writing (and if possible, electronically) by 30 November.  Please ensure that you do this, as otherwise you will not be allowed to speak on Public Day, the date of which is yet to be confirmed. Lesley’s contact details are Telephone: 01727 819304, email:, and address is Programme Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Civic Centre, St Peters Street, St Albans, AL1 3JE.

 STRiFE would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the funds.  The response has been incredible.  However, we need just £2000 more, so please if you haven’t already contributed, please do so now.  Thank you.




Herts Ad

PRESS RELEASE  - 21/7/2009

STRiFE welcomes the resolve and determination shown by St Albans and City District Council leading to their decision to refuse a second planning application for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange on the site of the former Radlett airfield.

We especially welcome the council’s decision to treat this as a new application whereby all aspects of the applicant’s case are again open to robust scrutiny and examination.

We would like to place on record our sincere thanks for the support that has been shown, by those who attended last night’s meeting and the 1200 written representations submitted to the council opposing the application.

We are grateful to Hertfordshire County Council and Hertsmere Borough Council for their continued opposition together with the cross-party efforts of our local politicians.

If an appeal is forthcoming we will fully support the council in defending their decision to refuse the application. We will of course register to participate in any subsequent public inquiry where we will endeavour to submit strong and persuasive evidence to help defeat this monstrous threat to the city of St Albans and to the well being and quality of life of its residents.



17 December 2007 "Thanks to our brilliant witnesses today, we made 3 BIG HITS! All three did really well, and made a huge IMPACT with the Inspector, to the extent that the Inspector asked the Appellants barrister to stop questioning, twice! This just showed that we were well informed, and produced our evidence well, and our witnesses were, without question, brilliant under cross examination. Our barrister Paul Stinchcombe, who is excellent is returning tomorrow for our "strategic rail" evidence," which will again be very interesting. Paul was extremely happy , how today went ."

TV: 20th of June 2007. Please see BBC London news broadcast 6pm

20 June 2007 "St Albans Review"

"THE shocking cost to the public to stop a huge railfreight terminal earmarked for Green Belt land could be as much as £2.5 million, we can reveal.

St Albans District Council estimates its own costs for the forthcoming public inquiry will be between £800,000 and £1 million and says it could have to pay as much as £1.5 million for the would-be developer's costs as well."


17 June 2007  "St Albans Review"


Link to St Albans District Council press release on submission of appeal by developers:

Links to BBC:


PRESS RELEASE 20.02.2007

full report of SADC could be downloaded by clicking here



 STRiFE welcomes the decision of the Planning Referrals Committee of St Albans City and District Council to refuse Helioslough’s application to build a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) on the Former Radlett Aerodrome immediately to the South of the city.

 This has to be entirely the right decision” says Bill Hammond,  STRiFE spokesman. “It is the first step towards defeating an inept and vexatious application which would have a devastating effect on our City and surrounding villages.” 

 The Committee unanimously refused the application, accepting their officers’ recommendation.  Officials gave 15 separate reasons for refusing the proposal including failure to make the very special circumstances  required for a green-belt development of this nature, and failure to demonstrate the Needs Case for a SRFI at the aerodrome site in terms of road and rail infrastructure. “This endorses the STRiFE view that there is no justification for this application in either Planning or Transport, or Environmental terms,” Bill continues.

 “The STRiFE Team would like to thank everyone who turned up at the Alban Arena last night to hear the Planning Referrals Committee come to their decision.  It was a fine example of local democracy in action and a clear signal that people are becoming increasingly concerned about the threats to our City and its environs.   However, this is only the first skirmish in a longer battle.  Going into the future we hope to retain the support of all those who have encouraged and assisted us over the past eight months.”

 “As a result of this decision STRiFE now looks forward to working with the St Albans, Hertsmere and the County Councils in fighting off any appeal made by the Developer,” Bill continues.   “We have also had incredible support from all the major political parties which has proved immensely valuable. This has taken STRiFE’s case into all levels of government.  We hope this valued cross-party political support will continue throughout the rest of the campaign.”

In their report, the Council's Officers point to a number of instances where the procedures used by Helioslough to justify the former aerodrome as the best site for a SRFI do not comply with the Government's required methodology for assessing possible locations, calling it variously ‘flawed’, ‘inadequate’, and ‘contradictory’. The application is also criticised for pre-empting a survey by the East of England Regional Assembly, the strategic body with responsibility for identifying potential locations for rail freight interchanges within the Eastern Region, which includes St Albans and the surrounding districts.

“We find this highly unsatisfactory and note that in the opinion of some consultees, this application should never even have been lodged,” says  Bill  “Now it seems hundreds of thousands of pounds of Tax Payer's money in St Albans and Hertsmere is being used to fight off an opportunist development on an inappropriate site selected by a flawed process. If Helioslough take this to appeal, we can expect even more Tax Payers’ money to be spent, possibly running into millions of pounds.  We find this an extraordinary situation.”

Bill also points out that the people of St Albans have better reasons than most for wanting to see an efficient and well planned UK-wide rail freight system put into effect.  “We are surrounded on three sides by motorways packed with lorries, yet the Helioslough proposal fails to address this.  It actually exacerbates current congestion by adding 3.5 million vehicles a year to an area which already suffers from traffic levels 35% above the national average.  This seems extraordinarily negligent for a project which claims to be founded on the premise of delivering national economic and environmental benefits,” Bill points out.

“When this application was lodged at the end of last July 2006, Helioslough insisted they had solved all the technical problems. Yet here we are eight months later, with an alleged ‘national’ transport project failing on 15 points of planning and without the necessary road and rail connections required to make it function.  Helioslough has lost all credibility in regard to this proposal and has done nothing to advance the cause of Rail Freight in the wider community,” Bill continues. “The sooner we see the back of this application, the better it will be for everyone.”

Full download of Officers Report:

The 15 Reasons for Refusal: Pages 106-108.

The Site Assessment:    CPRE:                          Pages 59 - 60

                                                Hertsmere DC              Pages 69 - 70.

                                                St Albans CDC            Pages 77 - 89

Critique of Rail Links:               Atkins Rail:                   Pages 30 - 35

                                                St Albans CDC            Pages 77 - 83  

Critique of Road links:              Herts  Highways           Pages 54 - 55  

                                                Highways Agency         Page  85

                                                St Albans CDC            Pages 83 - 86


PRESS RELEASE 05.12.2006

 STRiFE, the campaign to stop the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange at the Radlett Old Aerodrome, claims the lives of thousands of St Albans residents will change forever if the development goes ahead. “This is why we are holding an ‘Awareness Day’ on Sunday (10th), at the Farmers Market, and a Christmas Social Evening on Monday (11th)” says  Cathy Bolshaw the STRiFE campaign co-ordinator. “This is by far and away the most devastating threat that St Albans has faced in generations.”

 “We are faced with an industrial complex which if placed over the city of St Albans would extend from the King Harry, through the city centre and on up to Marshalswick. In area, it is four times the size of Verulam Park, and to put it in another perspective, no less than 17 Wembley Stadiums can fit onto its massive footprint” Cathy continues.

 “And if that were not bad enough, the developer also proposes to put in excess of three million additional vehicles a year onto the North Orbital Road, (A414), between the Park Street and London Colney roundabouts, and over a million of these will be heavy goods vehicles”. Cathy added, “We have to alert everyone to the threat that is facing us all.”

 STRiFE Campaigners, and Anne Main MP, will be distributing leaflets and talking to Christmas shoppers in the City Centre on Sunday.  The STRiFE ‘Christmas Social’ is being held on  Monday 11th December, 8-11pm, at the Greenwood Park Leisure Centre, Tippendell Lane, Chiswell Green. Tickets are  £10 per head or £15 per couple, all proceeds will go to the Campaign Fund. Its BYOB, glasses and FOOD will be provided! Tickets will be available on the door, or by sending a cheque to STRiFE ,PO Box 932, St Albans, AL1 9GG.  We look forward to seeing you this weekend.


Contact: Cathy Bolshaw, 07710 327969



Advertiser 24-  The wrong track 02 November 2006

The first public acknowledgement that the application has now been submitted.

Article in Estates Gazette Interactive Today 1-8-06

HelioSlough lodges plans for 3.5m sq ft St Albans railfreight terminal
Jon Neale01/08/2006 14:40

HelioSlough has submitted an outline planning application for its controversial 3.5m sq ft strategic railfreight interchange at the former Radlett Aerodrome site near St Albans, Hertfordshire.

The scheme will include five units ranging from 480,000 sq ft to 1.2m sq ft, with each unit having its own railway siding for goods to be delivered directly to a train.

It will also include a 614-acre country park, woodland and managed countryside area.

HelioSlough director Mike Hughes said: "This submission follows two-and a half years' solid work by our development team, together with extensive public consultation.

"The role of railfreight distribution is to meet the growing needs and demands of all of us as consumers without adding to the congestion on our roads.

"Our proposals address both a regional and national transportation need and fills the gap in current rail freight interchange provision for the M25 north-west sector, while providing around 3,000 jobs and a new public open space for everyone to enjoy."  The proposal has been controversial in the city.

Local MP Anne Main has already raised the issue in Parliament and has called for a full debate on the development.

She said: "This proposal will alter the perception of St Albans from that of a pleasant City, known for its history and culture, to one that will only be associated with rail freight.

"I have met with a number of campaign groups that have been set up by local residents who are opposed to these plans and I support them 100% and will be doing everything I can to assist them."

HelioSlough was set up in 2004 as a joint venture between Helios Properties and Slough Estates targeted at the "big shed" distribution sector.

Copyright Reed Business Information


Both the Herts Ad and the St Albans Observer, (and I assume the Watford Observer) are doing widespread coverage on the planning application.




STRIFE Stop The Rail, International Freight Exchange is a campaign group set up to fight the International Rail Freight Terminal that Helioslough are proposing on the former Radlett Aerodrome, near St Albans, Hertfordshire. The planning application was presented on to St Albans District Council.

Hertfordshire's Green Belt is under continued mounting pressure. The 300 acre site is the last large piece of Green Belt between St Albans and London. The road network that this proposal would feed is the northern section of the M25, the southern section of the M1, the A1M and the A414.

These roads are already over-congested, without the addition of another 3000 (Three Thousand) HGV movements every day, all day and night - an EXTRA one HGV every 2 minutes. The Helioslough proposal is for 12, 750 metre long freight trains per 24 hours, most of which would be at night, trundling through residential areas. Sleep is a basic human right!

Strife spokesperson Cathy Bolshaw said "Along with the Green Belt, traffic and train issues, and many more, we must also think of the wider implications of such a proposal, such as changes on the social structure to this area of South West Hertfordshire. There is a human element to be considered in this bearing in mind the close proximity to residential areas. The Green Belt must be protected at all costs, environmental, commercial and human".

Helios were part of a consortium which was headed by Argent plc, that proposed the L.I.F.E (London International Freight Exchange) at Colnbrook, near Slough in 2000. That proposed development was successfully defeated at a Public Inquiry.

For further details please go to



29 June 2006

OPPONENTS of the giant rail-freight terminal planned for Green- Belt land between St Albans and Radlett say they plan to fight fire with fire.

A new campaign team STRIFE - Stop The Rail International Freight Exchange - has been set up to fight the application by Helioslough for an International Rail Freight Terminal at Radlett Aerodrome.

The team has expertise in various fields including lawyers, rail managers, commercial property developers, economists, engineering designers and an independent planning consultant. All the experts live locally and are working together to build a case against the proposal.

Campaign co-ordinator Cathy Bolshaw said: "We have a great team of heavyweight experts now working together. When Helioslough put their application into St Albans District Council next week, STRIFE will swing into action to fight this proposal for the benefit of us all. We have to try to preserve this large piece of Green Belt land."

A website is being set up and further details will be released shortly.

Mrs Bolshaw, who lives in Park Street, said the group's main objections to the scheme were the erosion of the Green Belt, the increase in traffic in an already-congested area, the noise of the freight trains and light pollution all night long.

She added: "We also object to the urbanisation of the land around here. That means there will be no land left in between St Albans and Radlett, London Colney and Park Street."

Helioslough maintain the harm is outweighed by the benefits which include a 614-acre country park which will be developed around the terminal. A spokesperson for the firm said the layout of the park would prevent coalescence between the districts.

But Mrs Bolshaw disagreed: "We already have a great tract of forest land which provides a natural habitat for wildlife. It is totally unspoilt and that's the way we like it. We have no need for an artificially-created so-called country park. They are offering us precisely nothing."

n The £250 million plan is likely to be called in by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister because of its national strategic significance.

If it does go to public enquiry St Albans District Council could face a bill of £500,000 to cover the costs of expert witnesses, legal representation and administration. More than £25,000 has already been allocated to hire consultants with specialist knowledge of the rail freight industry.