Homes scheme proposed for new St Albans free school site

Rachelle Regan will be the head at Harperbury School

Rachelle Regan will be the head at Harperbury School - Credit: Archant

A 200-home scheme along with plans for a new school will shortly go before the district council – proposed to be built at the same Green Belt site.

After winning its hard-fought battle to secure an area in the grounds of the former psychiatric hospital in Harper Lane, on the borders of St Albans and Radlett, Harperbury Free School is ready to embark upon the next step.

Vice-chairman of governors Clive Glover has confirmed a contractor has been appointed to build the school.

A planning application will now be finalised by the unnamed contractor.

Just two months ago Schools Minister Lord Nash signed off the capital budget to enable the school’s trust to submit a scheme.

Clive has welcomed news of a separate scheme for the same site, to be submitted by Bloor Homes.

The building firm wants to construct a mix of homes, open space and landscaping alongside a relocated bowls club and retained football facilities.

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Bloor Homes’ scheme includes about 200 homes, ranging from one and two-bedroom apartments, and houses with two-five bedrooms.

About 35 per cent would be aimed at the affordable renting, key worker or shared ownership market.

The current tree-lined Lime Way would be retained and improved, and the proposal includes a new cycleway along Harper Lane and Watling Street.

An initial consultation on this scheme was held at the Radlett Centre last week.

Meanwhile, the free school has announced the appointment of a new head.

Rachelle Regan, currently an assistant head teacher at St Albans Girls’ School, has been appointed as Harperbury’s principal.

The school will be working closely with Watford Grammar School for Girls, and head teacher Dame Helen Hyde will be acting as executive head during Harperbury’s pre-opening period in its first term.

The new school is opening in September, and while its buildings will not be completed in time for the 120 pupils enrolled for its initial intake, the governors are hopeful of securing an existing building within the catchment area on a temporary basis.

Sara L’efquihi, chair of governors, said: “We are very much looking forward to being able to emulate Dame Helen’s enviable success in establishing the highest standards in academic achievement and pastoral care with Ms Regan.”

To find out more about Bloor Homes’ plans, see