1,200 new homes for St Albans could create new orbital road

PUBLISHED: 20:00 11 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 May 2010

THE first major road scheme in St Albans for many years could result from more than a thousand homes being built in the Green Belt. Fears are mounting that the scheme for between 1,000 and 1,200 new homes on land in the south west of St Albans behind the

THE first major road scheme in St Albans for many years could result from more than a thousand homes being built in the Green Belt.

Fears are mounting that the scheme for between 1,000 and 1,200 new homes on land in the south west of St Albans behind the Verulam Estate could get the nod as the district council consults on its core strategy for the new Local Development Framework - its planning blueprint for the next 20 years.

The housing scheme would then finance a new western orbital route running from the A4147 Hemel Hempstead Road, south of the Verulam Estate, to the former M10, now the A414.

It is the combination of the two factors which is worrying residents because not only would the additional housing double the size of the Verulam Estate but they fear it would lead to even greater traffic pressure on Bluehouse Hill.

The proposals were put forward in an options document in 2007 but even though most residents said they did not want it, the development has reappeared in the core strategy consultation.

A spokesperson for Verulam Residents Association said the housing scheme appeared to be intrinsically linked to the construction of a bypass.

She warned that a new strategic route from the former M10 would funnel traffic out at to the top of Bluehouse Hill where traffic would be continually backed up because nothing could be done to widen that road.

She said: "There would be a quicker route to Bluehouse Hill but it is not going to solve any real problems. The rest of the route will be on old roads."

The residents association, which is urging all householders to object to the proposal, say there are numerous reasons why the land - currently occupied by a tenant farmer - should not be developed.

It would encroach on to the Green Belt, threaten archaeological remains, destroy open space and the construction of a new bypass would have a severe environmental impact.

The prospect of such a development and orbital road is also of concern to St Albans Civic Society - although chairman Peter Trevelyan said there might be an argument for the road even if it was not necessary for it to be on the scale the document was suggesting.

He accepted that the council had to look at Green Belt sites if it was to meet house-building targets set for the East of England Region but felt it should come clean about the amount of Green Belt land which might have to released in the future.

Cllr Chris Brazier, the council's planning portfolio holder, said that it was vital that the council was seen to consult on sites such as the south west of St Albans so they could prove that people did not want them developed.

He went on: "Send me a clear signal that you don't want it and I will take it out of the area of search but I need to be able to say to the inspector that I have asked you and you have said no.

"This is our consultation document, not council policy and not a government document. We are consulting you and if you say clearly that you don't want it, we will alter the Plan.

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