250 homes mooted for former St Albans minerals site

FORMER mineral workings land is being touted as a possible mixed development housing site which could have up to 250 new homes built on it.

Residents of Colney Heath and Smallford have been sent outline details of the proposals for land at the apex of Alban Park industrial estate and Colney Heath Lane which was previously used as a minerals site and is now largely acid grassland.

They have been asked to comment by early next week which, according to county and district councillor for the area, Chris Brazier, has been causing some concern.

Even though he is planning portfolio holder for the district council, Cllr Brazier was not aware of interest in the site from developers although he has since learned that an approach had been made to council planners.

He said: “I have now found out that a council officer said it was not suitable for development but residents were only given a week to comment which was a bit of a shock. It is quite a large site and they weren’t told how many houses were proposed there.”

He said the land was a county wildlife site adjacent to the Grade 2 listed Smallford Collage and added: “It is part of the Upper Colne Valley and used for leisure purposes. The Alban Way runs through it and it is not one of the sites we have been considering for development.”

Planning consultant David Black, who is acting on behalf of the private owner of the site which adjoins county council-owned land, said this week that he had already received some responses from residents.

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He went on: “It is very much a pre-application position. We are basically appraising the planning issues in respect of the site and government moves on local community considerations.”

Mr Black explained that the site, part of which is in the Green Belt, had been named Alban Way Park and he confirmed that it could have around 250 units of housing built on it in a mixed development.

He said: “The intention would be to design it within the landscape framework. It is well connected in terms of public rights of way and well contained visually because it is flat.”

Mr Black said the letter was to show local people where “we are coming from” and was asking them to consider the principle of development there. An indicative drawing of the potential uses had also been included.

He added: “The idea is that we are going to assemble the information and assess the pros and cons to meet the local authority’s Local Development Framework.”