Environmental concerns have been raised after a plan was submitted to add 10 holes to an 18-hole golf course near St Albans.

Plans to expand the Centurion Club, on Hemel Hempstead Road, were submitted to St Albans City and District Council's planning committee on Friday, November 17.

A draft proposal - included within the application - would see 188,604sqm of the 359,788sqm of woodland at the site removed, equalling 52 per cent in total.

Over 1,800 trees are located on the land of the proposed development.

Herts Advertiser: The proposed site of the development.The proposed site of the development. (Image: Quantum Golf / St Albans City & District Council)

No 'built developments' are included in the plans, meaning that it would constitute 'not inappropriate' Green Belt development, according to a planning statement attached to the application.

A local resident, who does not wish to be named, has now raised concerns over the environmental impact that the development would have.

The resident told The Herts Ad: "If granted, the Centurion golf club would gain 10 holes to add to their existing 18 hole course.

"On the other hand, and very sadly, something precious and irreplaceable would be largely lost. 

"There are magnificent and mature stands of beech, with beautiful oak, ash, cherry, scots pine, and hazel. All wonderful trees supporting ecosystems that, once lost can not be recreated in the short term.

"A mature tree is known to absorb up to 150kg of carbon dioxide and give us 140kg of oxygen each year.

"For the whole wood this could amount to 900 tonnes of CO2 being taken out of the atmosphere, and 800 tonnes of Oxygen being given back.

"Should we risk losing this contribution to our individual wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet?"

The resident also spoke of the benefit provided by the woodland.

Herts Advertiser: The proposed holes at the Centurion Club, between Hemel Hempstead and St Albans.The proposed holes at the Centurion Club, between Hemel Hempstead and St Albans. (Image: Quantum Golf / St Albans City & District Council)

He continued: "The woods are a wonderful resource for walkers, birdwatchers and lovers of nature.

"There are numerous paths around and through the woods that are regularly used today as they have been over the four or five decades at least.

"It would be sad indeed to lose access to such a wonderful asset when there are few others nearby."

When approached for comment, the Centurion Club's general manager Michael Duffy encouraged residents to take note of efforts that have been made to reduce the development's environmental impact.

He said: "During the last 24 months we have worked closely and collaboratively with consultants to undertake ecological surveys as part of our planning application for additional golf holes. 

"The results of these detailed surveys, which are all publicly available within the St Albans City and District planning application portal, have played a significant role in the resultant layout of the new holes.

"Whilst some tree felling is necessary to form greens, fairways and tees, by altering and adapting the layout in consultation with the Hertfordshire County Ecologist, we have been able to considerably limit tree felling and avoid intruding on areas of ecological sensitivity."

Mr Duffy also spoke of trees that the club has planted, since it opened to the public.

He continued: "Since its inception, not only has Centurion Club provided a world class golfing facility for the local area, but it has planted over 20,000 trees and shrubs and our current plans include a further 26,000 indigenous trees and plants.


"Through the implementation of appropriate avoidance, mitigation and compensation measures we will ensure no significant harm to biodiversity arises, the net gain assessment demonstrates a significant gain in habitat will be achieved on the site, meaning that flora and fauna will thrive.

"We encourage people to review fully the reports, surveys and planning documents which are available through the Planning Portal."

Residents have until Saturday, December 30, to comment or object to the application, which can be found using reference 5/2023/2112 on the St Albans planning portal.