Development plan for former London Colney hostel

A PROPOSAL to replace a former homeless hostel with some 100 new flats has gone before planners.

St Albans district council (SADC) has applied to its own planning department to demolish Ridgeview in Barnet Road, London Colney, and build three blocks of flats on the land, which adjoins the Colney Fields retail park.

It decided to close the hostel in 2008 in a controversial move which was set to help fund the new Westminster Lodge leisure centre, with the council promising to pay the money back into the housing pot at a later date.

Although all 67 individuals and 15 families were rehoused, the council was unable to find any interested buyers for the hostel and later leased the building to the University of Herts to use for student accommodation in the interim.

But SADC has now submitted an application for outline planning permission for the site comprising 33 one-bedroom flats, 69 two-bedroom apartments and five three-bedroom flats complete with roof gardens – with 37 of the units allocated to affordable housing.

The development, which would be likely to be four storeys tall, would also have parking for around 115 cars and green credentials.

The council stated in its application that it would be an ideal site to provide a “gateway development” to London Colney.

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Karen Dragovic, head of housing at St Albans district council, said: “The application is currently under consultation and a decision is due to be made in February 2011. The council is currently considering how to proceed with this development in the event that it is granted outline planning permission.”