Controversial Harpenden development given go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 17:12 15 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:18 15 August 2017

The house which could be demolished to make way for a new development on Cross Way, Harpenden. Photo: GOOGLE

The house which could be demolished to make way for a new development on Cross Way, Harpenden. Photo: GOOGLE


The need for affordable housing nixed a need for parking as a controversial Harpenden development was given the go-ahead.

The application to demolish and develop St Margaret Flats on Cross Way was carried by St Albans council on Monday, August 14.

This is despite many councillors, neighbours, and Harpenden council saying the provided parking was insufficient.

Harpenden East’s Cllr Mike Wakely said: “One of the things I am very aware of in the district is we need more affordable housing, reasonably-priced housing not for multimillionaires.

“And this application is good, it provides real affordable, market-driven units.

“However, I know the area and it’s difficult to park there. People would not just comment about it just because they are commenting about it.

“It’s real it’s something they suffer day in, day out.”

Tilsworth Development put in an application to build 11 flats with 12 parking spaces on the site.

Cllr Wakely said: “To have twelve parking spaces is just grief, unless we ban all cars.”

His words chimed with those of Harpenden town council, which recommended planning permission be refused due to the lack of parking.

Several neighbours have also made representations to St Albans council, saying their parking problem would be exacerbated and it could cause disputes.

Redbourn’s Cllr Victoria Mead concurred there were concerns about parking.

The provision of one space per flat left little room for visitors, she said.

“I just feel if this was a city that would be different, but the size of Harpenden and where the site is located, on a residential road, I do think the development would be better off slightly reduced.”

However, Harpenden West’s Cllr Matt Stephens argued the overriding concern was the need for the kind of affordable housing this development would provide.

He said: “I would think it would be a worthy contribution to Harpenden town.”

A representative for the developers who spoke at the meeting offered an olive branch in the form of four extra parking spaces.

This was met with approval by many of the councillors, however such an amendment would require an entirely new planning application.

The application was passed by the committee without the extra spaces.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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