Developers squeeze more flats onto St Albans site

PUBLISHED: 19:00 29 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

A FIRM of developers has been accused of trying to squeeze a further 17 flats on to part of a city centre site originally intended for community use. The former Oaklands college site in St Albans is already short of parking spaces and no additional parkin

A FIRM of developers has been accused of trying to squeeze a further 17 flats on to part of a city centre site originally intended for community use.

The former Oaklands college site in St Albans is already short of parking spaces and no additional parking has been included in Nicholas King Homes' latest planning application to convert a large hall into extra housing space.

David Kaloczi of Park Avenue, St Albans said: "As if it is not bad enough that we have to look at the new ugly blocks that have been erected, the developers now want to go back on promises that were made. The hall was supposed to be made available for community usage - not any more!

"It is claimed that the community does not want use of a large hall in the centre of the city. I hope our planning officers at the council do not have short memories. Perhaps your readers would also like to remind them and also come forward if they would like use of the refurbished hall as we were promised."

District and county councillor Chris White, who is calling in the scheme to be considered at committee, said "This site has always been problematic due to the lack of parking provided. Nicholas King Homes said parking would not be important as the site has good transport links. It is central and close to the city station but the streets round there are already choked with traffic."

Clarence ward Councillor Sheila Burton said: "This is outrageous. What little parking there is on the site is at a premium. A friend of mine whose daughter bought a flat there was told it was OK to park on the street.

"If she wanted to buy a parking space she was told that would cost an extra £10,000. But this is surely open to abuse. Some cynical people might buy a parking space and rent it out to the highest bidders especially as the cost of parking at the city station is so prohibitive. That would mean that parking spaces could be used by people who do not even live there."

Prices range between £190,000 and £325,000 with 224 parking spaces costing an extra £10,000 each. Most of the parking provision will be underground. .

As well as the planning application to turn the large hall into extra housing space, a second has been submitted to refurbish a former gymnasium for use as a gym by tenants.

A spokesperson for Nicholas King Homes said she thought it was extremely unlikely that anyone buying one of the parking spaces would not to want to use the space for themselves.

But she could not guarantee that the spaces would be non-transferable in the future.

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