Draft Strategic Plan for St Albans revealed

PUBLISHED: 06:50 03 October 2012

BRE, Bricket Wood.

BRE, Bricket Wood.

Archant

DESPITE the government projecting that St Albans needs around 700 houses built each year, the district council is pushing plans for a “more sustainable” 250 homes.

After caving in to public pressure, St Albans district council (SADC) has finally publicised its long-awaited draft Strategic Local Plan.

In it, three areas are earmarked for major housing developments to help the council pave the way for 4,250 homes to be built by 2028.

They are Kingsley Green, formerly known as Harperbury Hospital, near Radlett, Oaklands College in Smallford and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in Bricket Wood.

The proposal for Kingsley Green is for up to 400 new homes and an 80-bed healthcare facility.

At Oaklands, there are hopes to build up to 350 new homes off Sandpit Lane, beyond the Verulam School playing fields. That would be a separate development to the one approved near Beaumont School.

The council hopes that up to 150 homes will be built at the BRE site.

A further policy is for the redevelopment and extension of Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, with the Green Belt boundary possibly having to be adjusted to allow growth there.

The Government’s latest household projections for the district suggest there will be a need for 11,700 new households until 2028, or 688 houses a year.

But the council said this is unsustainable, impacts on the Green Belt and does not reflect the community’s views.

One hundred of the 250 homes it wants to have built a year, or 40 per cent, are to be affordable.

Also in the draft plan, which is expected to be adopted early 2014, are comments on:

LOCAL ECONOMY

While St Albans city centre is “healthy and vibrant” it does not cater for everyone’s full shopping needs and its retail market share in the county has been declining recently.

Major retail development is proposed at:

n St Peter’s Street west (Drovers Way) and east (Civic Centre). Additional retail floorspace “should” include a supermarket, space for larger chain stores and possibly a department store.

n Griffiths Way south: retail warehouses for bulky goods.

n Extension of Colney Fields in London Colney onto the Ridgeview site.

Considerable job growth is anticipated in areas including education, retail, healthcare, leisure and hospitality, which are likely to provide more than 50 per cent of new jobs up to 2028.

EDUCATION

Schools may be built on the Green Belt if other expansion possibilities “have been exhausted”.

Herts county council’s future educational requirements for the area include:

n Sixteen forms of entry (FE) to be provided by new or expanded primary schools.

n Up to 14 FE for secondary schooling.

GREEN BELT

The Green Belt covers over 80 per cent of the district and “is of critical importance in preventing urban sprawl and the coalescence of settlements.”

The plan states: “The council does not view the Green Belt as simply a constraint or defensive barrier, but rather as an asset that should be protected and proactively managed.”

PROBLEMS

The ecological footprint of the district shows an unsustainable pattern of energy consumption and resources.

Its planning blueprint explains: “An area of biologically productive land 50 times the size of the district is required to sustain its current population.

“Water resources are under immense pressure and over-abstraction has resulted in biodiversity damage, including to local chalk streams.”

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