Plan for 68 homes on former secondary school site is rejected

PUBLISHED: 12:36 17 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

Villagers wanted the former secondary school reopened rather than homes on the site

Villagers wanted the former secondary school reopened rather than homes on the site

SCORES of residents got unanimous support from councillors when a bid to build 68 houses on part of a village s former secondary school site went before planners last night (Monday). St Albans plans (north) planning committee rejected the application fr

SCORES of residents got unanimous support from councillors when a bid to build 68 houses on part of a village's former secondary school site went before planners last night (Monday).

St Albans plans (north) planning committee rejected the application from Persimmon Homes to build the houses on the northern part of the Wheathampstead School site in Butterfield Road.

And to strengthen their opposition, councillors added a fourth reason for refusal of the scheme which already has outline permission for house building at a rate of 30 homes per hectare.

Persimmon wants to build a mixture of two, three and four-bedroom two-storey houses and would include 24 units of affordable housing.

Around 60 residents were at the meeting in Harpenden Public Halls and had objected on a number of grounds including insufficient parking which would lead to cars on verges, the preponderance of four-bedroom homes, inadequate provision or convenience of public transport and the inadequate buffer between the new properties and existing homes.

A spokesperson for Persimmon warned councillors at the meeting that the company would go to appeal if the scheme was rejected.

But the council's planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, stressed to the committee that they must not be swayed by the possibility of an appeal.

Persimmon has already drawn up a revised scheme in answer to criticisms from planning officers but that will be dealt with as a separate application with full consultation some time in the future.

After the meeting, Cllr Brazier said that in the absence of any comment from Herts Highways, the committee had decided to add a fourth reason for refusal.

He explained: "There would be a lot of grass verges rather than pavements and we felt that the way the development was laid out with a lot of right angle turning, would cause concerns about the safety of children at the very least."

He said that should Persimmon questions why the district council had raised a highways objection at appeal when Herts Highways had not commented, they would seek advice from an independent highways consultant on the issue.

The scheme was also refused on its lack of attractiveness and the harm it could cause adjoining residents together with the failure to provide adequate landscaping and planting within the site and along the southern edge.

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