Not so green and pleasant is it? The crappiest bits of Green Belt land in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 19:00 25 January 2018

The huge pile of wood on Appspond Lane remains despite intervention from the Environment Agency

The huge pile of wood on Appspond Lane remains despite intervention from the Environment Agency

Archant

The Campaign For Rural England call the Green Belt “a buffer between towns, and between town and countryside” and a “breath of fresh air for 30 million people”.

APS Grab Hire near Potter's Crouch. Photo: Google.APS Grab Hire near Potter's Crouch. Photo: Google.

Yet parts of the Green Belt in St Albans district and Radlett could not be further from that idyll.

They’re used as lorry parks, rubbish tips, quarries, and water treatment plants - not the sort of place you could walk Fido.

For instance, the CEMEX concrete plant on Smallford Lane in St Albans is crowded with lorries and machinery.

APS Grab Hire near Potter’s Crouch has mounds of scrap wood, piled high enough to put off any rambler.

Tyttenhangar Quarry off Coursers Road in London Colney. Photo: Google.Tyttenhangar Quarry off Coursers Road in London Colney. Photo: Google.

Anyone wishing to take a drive, or even a cycle, along historic Watling Street will find it hard to miss the Tarmac plant off the junction with Harper Lane.

Off Coursers Road near London Colney is Tyttenhanger Quarry, a gigantic site also run by Tarmac, which carpets a huge area of Green Belt land.

Then there is the GJW Titmuss pet food store off the B651 Lamer Lane in Wheathampstead, full of lorries.

St Albans council is consulting on plans to build 15,000 homes in St Albans over the next 20 years.

The CEMEX plant on Oaklands Lane near St Albans. Photo: Google.The CEMEX plant on Oaklands Lane near St Albans. Photo: Google.

Between 9,000 and 10,000 of these homes would be on Green Belt land, which covers 81 per cent of the district.

The homes are destined for the north and east of St Albans, the north-east and north-west of Harpenden, Chiswell Green, London Colney, and to the east of Hemel Hempstead.

There is a shortfall of 3,000 homes which have no fixed location, and St Albans council has asked landowners to offer up space.

The council’s planning portfolio holder Cllr Mary Maynard said: “Some of the Green Belt is not beautiful land.

The CEMEX plant on Smallford Lane between St Albans and Hatfield. Photo: Google.The CEMEX plant on Smallford Lane between St Albans and Hatfield. Photo: Google.

“We have very important ecological areas in built-up areas, but there is limited overlap between ecology and the Green Belt.

“Green Belt objectives are not about having nice rolling hills. It is actually about building a good distance between settlements and maintaining farming land, not ecology.”

The public can comment on the council’s proposals for the new St Albans Local Plan until Wednesday, February 21.

The proposals can be found at www.stalbans.gov.uk/localplan2018

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CountryPhile

A few years back I was fixing a shed in our garden and had enlisted the help of my young son. We were busy moving rotten pieces of wood from the side of the shed when suddenly I felt sharp stabbing pains in my lower legs. Before I had a chance to investigate my son started screaming in pain and it took a few more seconds to realize that we were trampling on a wasps’ nest!

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