Appeal for horses to graze on St Albans meadow rejected

Bedmond Meadow

Bedmond Meadow - Credit: Archant

A fresh appeal to allow horses to graze on a community meadow in St Albans has been rejected by the planning inspector.

Bedmond Meadow

Bedmond Meadow - Credit: Archant

Cala Homes appealed against the council’s refusal to allow them to build a stable and associated works on Bedmond Lane Field. The development, which was refused just before Christmas, would have included two stables as well as two road accesses from Mayne Avenue and Parklands Drive, enabling horses to graze.

This was the second time Cala Homes have appealed against the council’s decision, the second time the appeal has been rejected and the second time the appeal against the refusal has failed.

Timothy Beecroft, chair of Verulam Residents’ Association, said: “We are very pleased that this appeal has failed and that in the short term at least Bedmond Lane Field is safe from development.

“This application was first made more than two and a half years ago and it seems to have taken an extraordinarily long time to get to what always seemed to be the obviously correct answer.

“The appeal has failed because we, the residents association, spotted an important piece of planning law that the council seemed to have missed. But this is not the end of the story. The legal case about the field’s status as an asset of community value goes to the Court of Appeal in February.

“And, of course, there is nothing to stop CALA Homes putting in yet another planning application, although they will find it more difficult than before, given this very welcome decision by the Planning Inspector.”

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Bedmond Lane Field is currently an asset of community value, which was lobbied for by residents to give the Green Belt site extra protection from development.

Timothy said: “It’s gone up to so many levels in the courts. An able lawyer and judge are discussing it between them. It’s an important test case.

“We are hoping for the best not just for this site but for anybody else who wants to try to get a bit of private land registered as an asset of community value.”

Speaking about the decision on the stables, Timothy added: “The important thing is it has finally been rejected for the right reasons. The council and the planning inspector have now agreed that this is an inappropriate development for the Green Belt.”