Outrage over short notice for arrival of St Albans building compound

PUBLISHED: 06:15 09 August 2012

Cllr Rod Perks beside grassed area in Melbourne Close, St Albans which will house a huge container which residents are not happy about.

Cllr Rod Perks beside grassed area in Melbourne Close, St Albans which will house a huge container which residents are not happy about.

Archant

RESIDENTS in St Albans are “outraged” after receiving just a few days’ notice that a huge construction storage container will be placed on greenspace near the historic Beech Bottom Dyke.

People living in Melbourne Close, off Valley Road, received a letter from Borras Construction, on Monday, August 6, dated July 6, informing them that a compound would be put on a grassed area tomorrow, August 10.

It said the compound would remain there until December this year, and Borras “apologised in advance” for any inconvenience.

A resident of Melbourne Close, who did not want to be named, said she feared it would be a “massive eyesore on the green”.

She said the scale of the compound, which was shown on a map accompanying the letter, “looked like it was as big as two houses”.

The woman added: “It is a monstrosity. No one is happy. Everyone thinks, ‘why should we have an eyesore like that outside our window?’”

She said residents were annoyed there had been no consultation about the location of the compound.

At the time of going to press, locals were meeting representatives of St Albans district council (SADC), Borras and Councillor for Marshalswick South, Rod Perks, yesterday afternoon to discuss possible alternative sites to place the facility.

Borras, a St Albans based independent construction company, has worked with SADC for over 30 years.

The firm was recently awarded a £2.4 million scheme, the ‘Decent Homes project’, to refurbish council homes in St Albans, which began in June.

Cllr Perks said: “This project is part of a major district-wide scheme to upgrade the housing stock of SADC and clearly it is not realistic for the appointed contractors to pop down to Homebase every time they need a new sink unit or handbasin.

“A bit more notice to the residents from the council would have been welcome but wherever the storage container is to be located is likely to cause inconvenience to someone.”

He said he hoped a compromise would be reached at yesterday’s meeting.

Joanne Turner, tenant services and performance manager at SADC, explained that the local authority had chosen a council-owned site at Melbourne Close for the storage compound while refurbishment work is carried out at the estate.

She said Borras needed a temporary area for two storage containers to house equipment and two skips for waste.

Mrs Turner added: “Although there is no legal requirement for the council to consult residents about the temporary use of its land in this way, we asked Borras to notify residents of the plans.”

She explained onsite storage would help reduce traffic through the area, particularly during the school holidays.

Adam Bowden, managing director of Borras Construction, said putting the compound in the area close to where the firm is carrying out refurbishment made sense, as it would reduce the number of trips needed.

He added: “It’s great that the council is investing in local houses, for local people.”

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