Affordable housing helps win permission for St Albans college site scheme

The old Oaklands College building on Hatfield Road

The old Oaklands College building on Hatfield Road - Credit: Archant

A MAJOR new city centre flats scheme with a high percentage of affordable housing has been given the go ahead this week.

Hightown Praetorian and Churches Housing Association wants to demolish three existing blocks on the Oaklands College city campus in Hatfield Road, St Albans, and build a total of 75 flats in their place.

Although permission was granted by St Albans plans (central) committee on Monday (8), there might yet be more flats on the site. The housing association has lodged an appeal against non-determination of a previous application for 85 flats.

A number of objections were raised against the scheme which went before councillors on Monday, including noise from access, its overbearing appearance and inadequate parking.

St Albans Civic Society recommended rejection of the scheme on the grounds of overdevelopment. The civic watchdogs argued that five storeys on the larger two of the three blocks of flats was ‘a brutal step up in height from the surrounding two-storey buildings and would be too dominant.

The scheme would include 35 per cent affordable housing – 26 out of the total of 75 one and two bedroom flats.

Committee chairman, Cllr Tom Clegg, said councillors were delighted at the amount of affordable housing proposed for the development.

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He added: “We were all in agreement because the affordable housing was excellent. I am hoping there will be more like this coming on stream because there is a great shortage of affordable housing.”