Council picks up appeal costs for St Albans Green Belt homes bid

Planning permission has been refused for the scheme

Planning permission has been refused for the scheme - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A nursery has lost its appeal to build 28 new homes on a Green Belt site - but the applicants have successfully argued that the district council should play some of their costs

Antonio and Grainne Barba went to appeal after St Albans council refused permission for a scheme to build 28 houses at Radio Nursery in Oaklands Lane, Smallford.

The application was refused because the site is in the Green Belt, there was inadequate provision for affordable housing and a legalagreement to mitigate the impact of the development on local infrastructure had not been signed.

The site comprises mostly single storey glasshouses for growing cucumbers and a pack house used for distribution.

Planning inspector Claire Victory accepted that developing housing on the site would not affect the openness of the Green Belt but did not believe that the site as a whole could be regarded as having been previously developed.

As a result she did not feel special circumstances existed to justify development in the Green Belt.

On the issue of affordable housing, she maintained the 10 per cent proposed by the applicants was adequate and she also accepted that Mr and Mrs Barba had made a Unilateral Undertaking to make a contribution to services such as schools, libraries and the fire service.

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But she agreed that the district council should pay the couple the costs they incurred defending the arguments relating to affordable housing. She accepted that the council had not explained its policy rationale for seeking a certain level of affordable housing on the appeal site and why the percentage proposed by the applicants was inadequate which had resulted in them incurring unnecessary and wasted expense at appeal.