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St Albans FC co-owner seeks STRiFE support for Radlett Airfield plan

 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A village businessman who has proposed the building of a football stadium and up to 6,000 homes on land eyed for a rail freight interchange is set to submit a pre-planning application. Last month My Radlett & Shenley News revealed that Radlett-based John McGowan, 47, joint owner of St Albans City FC, put together a consortium interested in purchasing Radlett Airfield- which has been under threat of sale to Helioslough Ltd for a new rail freight interchange. After deferment on the sale by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), Mr McGowan unveiled plans to turn the 199 hectare site into a 6,000 home residential estate with a new 5,000 seat stadium for Southern League Premier Division outfit St Albans City FC. Following support of the proposal from residents and councillors, Mr McGowan is imminently set to submit a pre-planning application to St Albans City & District Council, though has indicated that he will only do so with the endorsement of campaign group Stop The Rail Freight Exchange (STRiFE). Mr McGowan met with the group on January 20 and at the time of writing is waiting to hear their thoughts. He told My Radlett & Shenley News: “This is a proposal that will only go forward if the rail freight interchange is given consent. It is an alternative scheme that solves needs for sports facilities and housing. We do not want to disrupt the Green Belt so this will not happen if the interchange is turned down. “We would prefer to go forward with STRiFE’s support,” he added. “Once that is in place we will formalise the pre planning application.” Mr McGowan added that he had the backing of a private investor, a national developer and a “series of professionals” who are advising on the design and legal aspects of the development. The airfield was said to be worth ten times its £1.7m valuation when built on- a £17m estimate that the 47-year-old confirmed the consortium would be able to match. He said: “We’ve had discussions with the chairman of HCC and then meetings with planners from St Albans council. They’ve recommended that we make a pre planning application. We’re hoping to include STRiFE in discussions going forward as I would like it to be a joint application. There have also been rumours that Taylor Wimpey are involved, that is not true.”

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