Rival developers behind freight interchanges proposed for Radlett and Colnbrook HAVE joined forces in a development that removes a significant objector from the SIFE public inquiry.
Goodman Logistics and Helioslough have been opposing each other’s plans for six years. But the Planning Inspectorate today announced that a Statement of Common Ground has been received – 11 days after the deadline set at the Pre Inquiry Meeting last month.
The development, predicted last week, is bad news for Colnbrook.
In a 15 page document that sets out the areas where the parties agree, Helioslough makes it clear that it accepts SIFE could co-exist with its own freight park to be built at Radlett.
Helioslough’s position, as expressed in previous representations, is that there is scope for more than one SRFI to be developed within the M25 NW Sector to serve London and the South East.
The document maintains Helioslough’s belief that Radlett remains the better site. However the document makes it clear that the companies consider Radlett’s planning permission to be beyond appeal.
“Radlett, which has the benefit of a planning permission, is to be regarded as the first in the network of SRFI facilities and SIFE (if approved) is to be regarded as the second in the line of such facilities. As a result it will not form part of the Appellant’s case to the Secretary of State on its appeal to argue that SIFE is in any material respect preferable to Radlett.”
The agreement between the parties also includes an endorsement from Network Rail. In a 2011 letter to the Department of Transport the company’s Director of Network Planning Richard Eccles states:
“There is an implication in the report that Colnbrook and Radlett are competing Rail Freight Interchange (RFI) schemes aimed at the same market. Network Rail has not been asked to comment upon this point previously but we quite clear that this is not the case.
“We conclude that the South East is quite capable of supporting a much larger RFI market – but has been starved of sites to date.”
The document also sets out the changes in planning policy the two companies believe justifies why SIFE should go ahead. Since the rejection of the original planning application by Slough Borough Council on September 8 2011 the National Planning Policy Framework was established in March 2012. Two additional policy statements are so recent even the inspector may need to brush up: the National Policy Statement for National Networks (January 2015) and revised London Plan (March 2015).
Today was the last day for representations to the SIFE public inquiry, meaning a key deadline to address the lack of awareness of SIFE and relaunch the stopSIFE campaign has been missed. The ‘heads of groups’ committee had volunteered to take forward the action at the Meeting of the Parish on June 16.
The inquiry kicks off on September 8.
Read the full Statement of Common Ground between Helioslough and Goodman.