The changing face of St Albans
SIR – Every day as we walk down the hill in Verulamium Park and admire the beautiful views across the lake and of the Abbey and Cathedral Quarter beyond, we feel very privileged to call St Albans our home. In the 36 years that we have lived here, the city
SIR - Every day as we walk down the hill in Verulamium Park and admire the beautiful views across the lake and of the Abbey and Cathedral Quarter beyond, we feel very privileged to call St Albans our home.
In the 36 years that we have lived here, the city has retained its unique character and historical heritage despite many pressures for change. Fortunately, stewardship by the council over the years has - for the most part - been well judged, sensible and sensitive.
Key to this is retaining the Green Belt and resisting over-development. We therefore strongly object to the wholesale destruction of huge tracts of Green Belt proposed in the Core Strategy of the Local Development Plan. The Green Belt has a crucial and well-defined purpose. Hundreds of extra houses are not welcome on this precious green space.
Of equal relevance is the lack of proper provision of adequate infrastructure for the developments being considered. Education, health, highways and water services are all overburdened and creaking under existing demands.
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The wider context should also be taken into account. Surrounding councils are all under pressure to build thousands of homes leading to an erosion of borders and a gradual coalescence of St Albans with Hemel Hempstead, Watford, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden. This Greater St Albans would be greater in size but lesser in quality.
This awful scenario becomes hideous when account is taken of the environmental threat posed by Hell's (Helioslough's) monstrosity: that massive carbuncle on the landscape - Green Belt, of course - should the euphemistically called Rail Freight Terminal get the go ahead.
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Factor in, too, the ever-present threat of expansion to Luton airport, together with additional traffic from Butterfly World, and it's getting a bit much!
If this sounds like doom and gloom, can we quote but one example from the Development Framework which shows just how close this is to becoming a reality:
Proposed development of the huge tract of Green Belt land bounded by Mayne Avenue, Hemel Hempstead Road and the A414 (formerly the M10) with the building of 1,200 houses, plus a 'relief road' along the course of Bedmond Lane, dwarfs even Hell's Monstrosity in terms of the area of Green Belt concreted over and lost forever. In one giant step, this Sad (St Albans District council's) Monstrosity would reduce the Green Belt buffer between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead (at the edge of Leverstock Green), from three miles to just one!
Such an urban sprawl will also destroy beautiful and picturesque farmland and make this approach to St Abans unwelcoming.
If you wish to help shape the future of this special place, St Albans, please write to or email the council, quoting the Local Development Framework. In 2007, hundreds of people objected to a virtually identical proposal in the St Albans Core Strategy and Development Plan (far more than to any other proposal, we believe). Unfortunately, letters and emails sent then don't count. So please make sure you have your say and prevent incalculable and irreversible damage to our historic city becoming a reality.
Change is an act of destruction as well as creation. What is being destroyed is a way of life people have chosen. What is being proposed - perhaps 'imposed' - is not.
ROBERT AND LINDA WAREING