650 homes proposed for Harpenden golf club site

Aldwickbury Park Golf Club.

All of this could be redeveloped for homes... Aldwickbury Park Golf Club. - Credit: Aldwickbury Park Golf Club.

A Harpenden golf club could be sold off for housing in a shocking development which could see as many as 650 homes on the Green Belt site.

The land upon which Aldwickbury Park Golf Club sits, off Piggottshill Lane, has been submitted to St Albans district council’s ‘call for sites’ as part of its new Local Plan, the blueprint for development in the district for the period up to 2038.

The call for sites allows organisations and individuals to propose potential development areas to be considered that are large enough for at least five homes or 500 square metres of business space.

Owners Burhill Golf and Leisure Ltd say the site possesses a unique ability to sustainably offer a sensitively-designed, landscaped development that could provide a wide range of housing types connecting to numerous existing services within Harpenden.

Aldwickbury Golf Club

Aldwickbury Park Golf Club could be sold for redevelopment. - Credit: Archant

Their initial analysis suggests the land could provide up to 650 homes, a retirement village, a leisure facility and a neighbourhood centre, with more than 50 per cent of the site dedicated to publicly available open space.

Any development would mean the end of the existing golf club, although there are no plans to close at the present time.

If the Aldwickbury Park site is included in the Local Plan, an application for development will be submitted in 2024, with a final decision expected by 2026, which means there would be no change in operation until 2027 at the earliest.

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General manager Ian McDowell said: "At this stage, it is simply a proposal, and we remain absolutely determined and committed to providing an excellent facility and level of service for our members to enjoy at Aldwickbury Park in the coming years.

Aldwickbury Golf Club

Aldwickbury Park Golf Club could be sold for redevelopment. - Credit: Archant

"It should be stressed that it is not the intention of Burhill Golf and Leisure to relinquish ownership of the land through any means other than the council’s Local Plan, which presents a unique opportunity that could not be equalled in any other circumstance.

"The club, and the land on which it sits, is not for sale on the general market, and should the proposal be refused, the club will continue to operate as it does now, while further additional improvement and investment opportunities are explored. 

"This news brings no change to the golf club in the immediate future, and we remain committed to ensure that our great team of people, day-to-day investment, and capital budgets remain in place to deliver the experience that our members are accustomed to. It should be underlined our staff have been informed and I do not expect to lose skilled team members as a result of this news."

Aldwickbury Golf Club

Aldwickbury Park Golf Club could be sold for redevelopment. - Credit: Danny Loo

Harpenden councillor Mary Maynard responded to the news: "The Local Plan call for sites has brought forward a huge amount of Green Belt land around Harpenden - particularly around Batford and the Lea Valley - Redbourn and Wheathampstead.

"If this land were to be developed, it would mean several things. The special characters of all three places would be lost. Harpenden and Wheathampstead would merge, as there would no longer be distinct boundaries.

"Thousands more homes would be built, with no improvements to already struggling roads, particularly the A1081, the Lower Luton Road and Station Road.  

"Developing the land at Aldwickbury Golf Club would mean both losing our ‘green lungs’ and a valuable area for leisure. It would put huge pressure on local roads, schools and doctors surgeries and on a local water/sewage system that is nearly at capacity now.

"The whole infrastructure in the area would either have to be significantly improved or it would collapse. Unless the sewage works was also developed, it would also be a relatively unpleasant place to live. Ask the golfers, who play the 8th tee very quickly to avoid the stink. You wouldn’t want to sit out in your garden in summer in that area.

"The predominantly city centre based Liberal Democrats who run St Albans district council need to be very careful about the sites they select. There is no point having rows of four-bedroom housing which ruin the environment for local people, whilst lining the pockets of developers."