Developers promise resolution for St Albans King Harry junction traffic chaos
DEVELOPERS about to fight a major appeal over a large housing scheme claim they have reached agreement with two councils about resolving the accompanying traffic problems. Hallam Land Management has gone to appeal over St Albans council s decision to refu
DEVELOPERS about to fight a major appeal over a large housing scheme claim they have reached agreement with two councils about resolving the accompanying traffic problems.
Hallam Land Management has gone to appeal over St Albans council's decision to refuse them outline planning permission to build 150 homes on the former St Albans School playing fields in King Harry Lane.
Councillors rejected the application when it went to a planning committee last September on the grounds of traffic - the significant levels it would generate, the impact on King Harry Lane and highway and pedestrian safety as well as the free flow of traffic.
There is particular concern that building 150 new homes there will exacerbate problems at the congested double roundabout by the King Harry pub.
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Hallam had indicated that they would be prepared to hand over �1.6 million to the county council as the highways authority but councillors were concerned that if there were no strings attached, they would not be obliged to provide a solution to the traffic problems in King Harry Lane and the money would go into a general pot.
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Now, in their grounds of appeal for the public inquiry to be held on Thursday, March 11, Hallam claims that a, "mitigation package has been agreed with the local highways authority to deal with the impact of the proposed development of the King Harry Lane junction and it has been accepted by officers of the district council."
But St Albans planning portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, was quick to deny the claim that the district council had agreed to any such package: "We are defending the reasons the committee gave for refusing the application and are employing two highways consultants to attend the inquiry."
He admitted that district council planning officers, who originally recommended approval of the scheme, had been nervous about opposing the views of the county council's highways department over the proposal.
He added: "But since then we have had independent people looking at our reasons for refusal and we are defending those reasons at appeal."
A spokesperson for the county council said that, as the highways authority, they were aware of and concerned about the existing congestion that occurs at the King Harry double roundabout.
She went on: "As a result, during the planning application process the highways authority discussed potential measures to alleviate the congestion in the area and secured a contribution of �1.6 million should the development go ahead."
She confirmed that it could be used for a variety of measures relating to the development of the King Harry site and would be subject to local consultation."
Barrie Mort, chairman of the Verulam Residents Association which has consistently opposed applications for the site, commented: "This seems to be very ill-thought-out grounds for appeal and they could do better."
No-one from Hallam was available for comment.