Developer calls for major increase in number of new houses built in St Albans district
PUBLISHED: 16:42 23 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:42 23 March 2016
More than double the number of new homes needs to be built annually in the district over the figure proposed in the council's planning blueprint.
That is the view of the Cala Group in its response to the consultation on the St Albans Strategic Local Plan (SLP) which proposes the building of 436 new homes annually in the district.
Cala, which is making a second bid at a planning meeting next week to change the use of land at Bedmond Lane for the keeping of horses - generally seen as a precursor to house building - argues that there needs to be a significant increase in the supply of housing land in the district.
The SLP has been drawn up on the basis of 436 new homes annually but Cala which, with other developers, refers to a study prepared by Barton Willmore, argues that the target should be 924 new homes a year - a total of 18,480 over the period of the SLP and an increase of 112 per cent.
Four Green Belt housing sites are included in the SLP with a view to the development of 4,000 new homes - two east of Hemel Hempstead and close to Redbourn, one off Sandpit Lane, St Albans and another in Harpenden.
Cala describes the SLP as failing to prepare a robust assessment of housing need with insufficient flexibility to react to changes in curcumstances as well as deliver housing in the short term.
It follows Barton Willmore’s recommendation that all eight sites which were examined before being reduced to four in the SLP should be allocated as housing land and additional sustainable sites identified.
Of the four Green Belt sites in the SLP, Cala is particularly critical of what it describes as the ‘over reliance’ on the east of Hemel Hempstead and says there is no suitable infrastructure provision. It also highlights the need for ‘genuine engagement’ with neighbouring local authorities including Dacorum borough council and those in London.
Calling on the supply of housing in St Albans to be boosted significantly, Cala says that it is vital that the council acts decisively and proactively to ensure the district realises its potential for future growth and delivers more affordable housing with associated socio-economic benefits.
Consultation has now finished on the SLP which will be examined by a government inspector later this year.