Concerns continue to mount over housing scheme near St Albans Girls School

CONCERNS are continuing to grow about the potential impact of a large housing development planned for Green Belt land near a St Albans school following a public exhibition of proposals last week.

More than 70 people attended last week’s initial exhibition of plans to build 125 detached and semi-detached homes near St Albans Girls’ School (STAGS) behind houses at the rear of Harpenden Road, stretching from Sandridgebury Lane to the Woollam playing fields.

Some people expressed fears of the proposal turning into reality while one Harpenden Road resident commented: “It’s absolutely out of proportion because we are living on this road and it’s absolutely chocker with traffic.”

Another woman asked: “It’s like a small town – where are the amenities?”

Speaking on behalf of the developers, principal of DLA Town Planning David Lane said he was “very pleased with the turnout.”

He confirmed that there has been approval in principal for a junction via an access road planned to be constructed between 124 and 126A Harpenden Road, linking the site to Harpenden Road.

The draft proposal, which has not yet been submitted for outline planning permission, includes the provision of new facilities for use by STAGS which rankled with one resident who said she felt “uncomfortable” with what developers were offering the school.

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STAGS would benefit through the addition of tennis and netball courts, PE classrooms, proposed all-weather surface multi-use pitch, changing rooms and a new retractable roof to its existing swimming pool as well as key worker housing in the development.

The dual-purpose courts would be built on the residential site, to be named Sewell Park, and accessed by foot via a safety crossing on a modified Sandridgebury Lane.

But the draft plan points out that while STAGS might gain directly from the proposal, the governors have not given formal approval to any plans and all the views expressed were those of the developers Hunston and their representatives.

As the school is currently closed no-one could be reached for comment but last week a spokeswoman declined to comment on the proposal.

The draft plan also revealed that:

• The land is owned by trustees of the Sewell family and has been in the family for 80 years;

• Hunston Properties Limited is promoting the land as a suitable site for development on behalf of the trustees;

• While the developers “appreciate” that Harpenden Road is a very busy road, and that the development would “inevitably add extra traffic” this would “represent a tiny fraction of traffic movements along Harpenden Road.”