4,500 home development being considered for St Albans’ doorstep
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A development of 4,500 new homes spreading into the St Albans district has been mooted by a neighbouring council.
Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) is currently consulting on a New Single Local Plan to supersede its 2004 version, including reviewing household projections and the role of the Green Belt.
One of the suggested sites is for 4,500 new homes in “North Hemel Hempstead”, which falls partly onto St Albans Green Belt land close to Redbourn owned by the Crown Estate.
The site was earmarked by St Albans district council (SADC) for a major development as part of its own failed Strategic Local Plan.
Chairman of Redbourn Parish Council David Mitchell has implored St Albans district council (SADC) to object to DBC’s proposal.
He described it as excessive, alarming, and enormous: “It’s a huge swath of Green Belt going across Hemel Hempstead and Redbourn Parish - I am a bit disappointed that [portfolio holder for planning at SADC] Cllr Mary Maynard has not mentioned it.
“I am a great Green Belt supporter and I believe you don’t need to build all over the metropolitan Green Belt to solve the housing crisis. Either we protect the Green Belt or we will become a big urban sprawl.”
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He believes the development would place undue pressure on roads and infrastructure in and around the village.
“Homes do have to be built somewhere but if you look at the national picture, to keep building homes in the south east doesn’t make sense, these homes are just London overspill.
“There are places further north which would welcome extensive development, bringing jobs as well as homes to the area. I recognise that houses need to be built as we have a growing population but we have to build them in the right place.”
The news comes after Chancellor Philip Hammond announced plans for the Government to solve the housing crisis by encouraging development as part of the autumn Budget.
He said: “There is one area where young people today will, rightly, feel concern about their future prospects – and that is in the housing market.
“House prices are increasingly out of reach for many. It takes too long to save for a deposit and rents absorb too high a portion of monthly income.”
Adding: “Put simply, successive governments over decades, have failed to build enough homes to deliver the home-owning dream that this country has always been proud of.”
But Mr Hammond did stress h that local councils should make best use of urban land and protect the Green Belt by “building high quality, high density homes in city centres and around transport hubs”.
Forty per cent of the homes proposed for the North Hemel Hempstead site would be classed as affordable.
Portfolio holder for planning at SADC, Cllr Mary Maynard, said: “We are currently drafting a Local Plan that will decide where new residential and commercial developments can be sited in our territory.
“During this process we are consulting widely and already have had talks with neighbouring local authorities including Dacorum Borough Council about their needs.
“We are doing so with an open mind and a positive outlook.”
She said the six week public consultation on SADC’s Local Plan will start in January and Redbourn Parish Council is welcome to submit its views.
“All such opinions and suggestions will be taken into consideration before any final decisions are made and our Local Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State for approval.”