Flooding fears over plans for new apartment block in Wheathampstead

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 November 2016

The area of land to the rear of Station Road in Wheathampstead.

The area of land to the rear of Station Road in Wheathampstead.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

A developer has appealed against a refused two-storey apartment block, with the Secretary of State now to decide whether the proposed construction should be built.

The area of land to the rear of Station Road in Wheathampstead.The area of land to the rear of Station Road in Wheathampstead.

Jarvis Homes want to build a block consisting of four two-bedroom homes and demolish a brick wall to widen a crossover to access the site, with parking, at the rear of 3 Station Road - a Grade II listed building - in Wheathampstead.

But St Albans district council turned down the bid because of flooding concerns.

The authority said the land was located within a flood zone, and that there was “sufficient land available within the district in lower flood risk areas more suitable to deliver housing”.

In response to the refusal, Jarvis recently lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate, saying that the residential footprint of the development “has been kept outside of the 20-year floodplain”.

The area of land to the rear of Station Road in Wheathampstead.The area of land to the rear of Station Road in Wheathampstead.

The building firm said its perusal of the council’s housing trajectory of April 2016 showed “no allocated sites which meet the search criteria” to construct such a development.

Jarvis added in its grounds of appeal: “This reflects the age of the adopted [Strategic Local] Plan which is over 20 years old. The only potential sources of suitable sites within the trajectory were those which were under construction and thus by definition not reasonably available, or those with planning permission.

“What is not in dispute is that the council has a significant shortfall in its five-year supply of housing.”

The council received objections to the proposed two-storey block, with villagers concerned about the impact on flooding. They also said the scale and design of the “development would create an unattractive and dominant feature in the heart of the village”.

The area of land to the rear of Station Road in Wheathampstead.The area of land to the rear of Station Road in Wheathampstead.

Wheathampstead parish council said the proposed scheme was near to the historic conservation area in the village’s centre, and “does not adequately reflect the area around”.

The Planning Inspectorate is currently considering the appeal.

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