CSt Albans conservation area residents condemn modern home plan

PUBLISHED: 18:21 14 December 2013

A CGI representation of how the development will look in the street scene

A CGI representation of how the development will look in the street scene

Archant

Strong opposition from residents has greeted plans to build a modern development slap bang in the middle of an historic St Albans street.

The proposed four-bedroom home in Fishpool Street features a contemporary design which neighbour Jo Swire believes is too “incongruous” with the existing style of properties.

She said: “I think there’s going to be a strong feeling about it because Fishpool Street is such a beautiful place; the residents association are very vocal about any changes to it.”

Currently the plot of land houses an orchard, as the previous owners reportedly used it as a garden-cum-allotment.

Jo added: “I think the developers will have a bit of a battle on their hands but I don’t know whether it’s realistic to hope it will stay as empty space. I don’t want it to happen but I understand there is pressure on local authorities to provide housing for people.”

She said the developers have made an effort to try and follow the design and conservation officer’s recommendations but added: “It’s a bit incongruous, that was my first thought. It’s not the prettiest building; I just think that perhaps a bit more effort could have gone into the blending of the building with the rest of the street.”

Peter Godwin, chairman of the Fishpool Residents Association, said the group planned on delivering notices this weekend to highlight the final date residents could comment on the development, adding: “I think it will be a blot on the landscape.”

But in response Martin Hemmings, managing director of Oakbridge Homes, said officers had said they did not want to see a sort of pastiche or mock Georgian design mimicking the street scene and that they would rather see something modern built.

Planning officers also stressed the development must not impact greatly on the green nature of the site, leading the developers to keep it one-storey and reportedly barely visible from street level.

He added: “The site there is zoned for development, it’s a developable site, and it’s not Green Belt or anything else. It’s a site that the council are happy to see developed.”

Martin said he could understand people might be concerned about the building process of the eco-friendly home, which would take on average 38 weeks to construct, but that he was happy to meet with anyone concerned to talk things through further.

Residents have until Christmas Day to add a comment to the planning application.

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