Campaigners against plans for a new rail freight interchange on the site of the former Radlett airfield say they expect to hear the result of a judicial review as early as the beginning of next year.
The group Save St Albans: Fight the Freight lodged the court action in September following Hertfordshire County Council’s decision to sell the 300-acre land to developers SEGRO. If the review is successful, the sale could be reversed.
The group has been against the proposal to build on the site for more than a decade, with SEGRO first applying for planning permission back in 2009. As part of the review, the group argues that previous legislation proved the site had been designated as open space which should not be developed.
St Albans councillor and group leader Nuala Webb said: “We believe we have a strong and arguable case supported by documents dating back more than 70 years.
“Planning permission for the terminal was granted by the then Secretary of State 10 years ago. But that is a completely different and separate issue to the legality of the sale.
“We have shown that covenants and statutes show the land is protected as permanent open space. Indeed from what we’ve seen, Herts’ own records support this. They bought the land for just £1 in the mid 1989s. No landowners would sell for such a sum if there was future development value.”
A judge will also consider evidence from SEGRO, who bought the land from the council at the end of June and plan to build a huge rail freight terminal.
Campaign leader Andy Cairns said: “There’s been a huge fundraising effort locally to fund the judicial review process and, depending on the ruling, we expect we will need to raise even more in 2024.
“We have also set up a monitoring group with experts in planning, environment, rights of way, nature etc to keep an eye on developments and make sure SEGRO comply with planning regulations.”