St Albans school’s sports pitch plans rejected

AN “inadequate” entrance to a proposal to turn polo fields in the Green Belt into school sports pitches resulted in planning permission being refused this week.

St Albans council plans (south) committee turned down a bid by st Columba’s College in King Harry Lane, St Albans, to build three football and three rugby pitches together with changing rooms and parking on part of St Stephen’s Farm in Chiswell Green Lane.

But while councillors were sympathetic to the needs of the school, their overriding concern was that if the proposal was agreed, it would impact both on local roads, particularly in Chiswell Green Lane, and create parking problems.

Access would be from a new entrance on Chiswell Green Lane, nearly 50m to the east of the existing entrance to the site which is used for polo 28 days a year.

Chairman, Cllr Chris Brazier, explained: “The main issue was parking because Chiswell Green already has Butterfly World and the Rose Garden and suffers from the impact of cars.

“Whatever the school says, parents will drop their children off and drive to pick them up.”

Cllr Brazier said the parking for 30 cars and three minibuses was insufficient and inadequate and there would be an extra traffic burden on a narrow lane.

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He pointed out that although St Columba’s had indicated it would use minibuses to take children to the site, it would not be possible to police the use of full-size coaches by visiting teams.

He added: “We want to support school playing fields and we have allowed others in the Green Belt but this was felt to have too much impact on Chiswell Green Lane and the parking wasn’t adequate.”