Backlash against Green Belt homes plans for St Albans, Harpenden and Redbourn

Looking from the Verulam School playing fields onto the Oaklands College land with Sandpit Lane runn

Looking from the Verulam School playing fields onto the Oaklands College land with Sandpit Lane running along the bottom of the field - Credit: Archant

A move to carve up Green Belt land in Harpenden, St Albans and Redbourn to allow 4,000 homes to be built has attracted considerable opposition from residents.

An analysis of responses to St Albans district council’s draft Strategic Local Plan (SLP) shows that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed disagreed with a proposal to build 2,500 homes west of the M1, close to the village of Redbourn, 1,000 houses at Oaklands College’s Smallford campus and 500 north west of Harpenden.

With regard to the latter, respondents have warned that building on local fields would lead to increased traffic congestion in the town, particularly on Luton Road as nearby Luton Airport is undergoing a major expansion.

A report to the council’s planning policy committee last Tuesday (21) said 12.5 per cent had warned that school capacity in Harpenden was insufficient to cope with an additional 500 homes.

And over nine per cent said that building in Redbourn parish would provide for Hemel Hempstead’s housing needs – not St Albans.

Dacorum borough council said it would have “strong support” for such expansion near Hemel – as long as it was integrated into new development from the wider town and help meet some of that area’s own future housing need.

At the committee meeting councillors were asked whether building 1,000 homes at Oaklands would result in an eastern ring road being built from Sandridge, through Oaklands’ campus to Highfield Park and on to London Road.

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The council’s spatial planning manager Chris Briggs said: “No [but if Oaklands] is developed, road improvements will be needed. The initial advice from the county council is that this would probably involve creating a link road between Hatfield Road and Sandpit Lane.”

Chris said that should Harpenden expand onto the Green Belt, “there would be further investigations into road infrastructure and solutions”.

Cllr Chris Brazier said there was no doubt traffic would increase, but the question was, “how we deal with the infrastructure, to improve the roads around us. There is a £24 million deficit in the county for roads.”