St Albans community meadow stables bid is again rejected by councillors

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 January 2019

Bedmond Lane Meadow (Picture: Robert Wareing)

Bedmond Lane Meadow (Picture: Robert Wareing)

Archant

An application to build stables on a community meadow in St Albans has again been rejected by the district council.

Bedmond Lane Meadow (Picture: Robert Wareing)Bedmond Lane Meadow (Picture: Robert Wareing)

Bedmond Field, off Bedmond Lane, has long been under threat of development by CALA Homes, who want to build stables and road access on the site to make it suitable for horses to graze.

The meadow has been listed as an asset of community value (ACV) since 2014, and CALA Homes has been unsuccessful in their attempts to challenge the meadow’s ACV status at the Court of Appeal.

Timothy Beecroft, chair of Verulam Residents’ Association (VRA), said: “We are delighted that, once again, councillors have turned down an application to build stables and road accesses on Bedmond Lane Field.

“As happened with the previous application, planning officers recommended that it be approved.

Bedmond Lane Meadow (Picture: Robert Wareing)Bedmond Lane Meadow (Picture: Robert Wareing)

“Again, as before, the VRA collectively, and many local residents individually, made their opposition clear.

“And, again, we found a previous case which showed how and why this application could be rejected.

“Last time it was in Somerset, this time it was in Bricket Wood, where a similar application was refused by St Albans council two or three years ago.

“It seems surprising that the planning department didn’t seem to realise the significance of this case, seeing as it was one they had dealt with so recently and on a site only a relatively short distance away from this one.”

In November last year the council deferred making a decision on the planning application so they could ask for more information about the proposals, before finally making a decision in a planning committee meeting on Monday.

CALA Homes, who put the application forward in September, also asked for the building of 160 new homes in the meadow to be considered in the Local Plan.

Timothy said: “The planning committee were clearly more convinced by the arguments and objections than they were by the planning officer’s report, and voted eight-nil to reject the application, with two abstentions. This decision comes as a great relief, but we fully understand that it is almost certainly not the end of the story.

“It would be no surprise to anyone if the owners appealed against the decision - but the Bricket Wood application went to appeal and it was rejected again, so we live in hope.”

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