Fight to secure St Albans heath moves online
PUBLISHED: 20:00 23 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 May 2010
A NEW website has been launched to coincide with consultation on the long-term planning strategy for the St Albans district. The Friends of Bernards Heath, the local group whose aim is to protect, preserve and enhance the heath which is one of the largest
A NEW website has been launched to coincide with consultation on the long-term planning strategy for the St Albans district.
The Friends of Bernards Heath, the local group whose aim is to protect, preserve and enhance the heath which is one of the largest and most historic open spaces in St Albans, have developed the website with MCS Creative of St Albans.
It tells users about the heath, its history and wildlife, and is illustrated with a gallery of photographs and links to related websites.
The website launch has been timed deliberately to coincide with the current consultation on the core strategy for the Local Development Framework (LDF), the council's planning blueprint until 2026.
Among the issues for consultation is the possibility of a supermarket being built on the old Ariston Works site on Harpenden Road which currently houses the Pioneer Youth Club, St Albans Judo Club and the old fire station as well as parking space for the ambulance service.
It is not the first time the issue has been mooted - in 2000/2001 there was a proposal to redevelop the area including the Lower Field which was defeated by a group of local people who called themselves the Bernards Heath Village Green Preservation Society.
The scheme is now back and while the core strategy document says that the site is not a good location for a supermarket and would lead to the loss of green space, it maintains there would be some advantages and it is well placed for the poorly-served north side of the city.
The Friends are opposing any proposal that would mean the site going over to such a use and support the existing planning consent for affordable housing and the continued location of the youth club on the heath.
The new website includes a News section where residents can keep up to date with the consultation and a Forum section where they have their say about the development proposals.
Peter Cook, chairman of the Friends, said: "Looking after the heath involves more than just the green spaces and the surrounding woodland; it includes, for example, the roads, the traffic problems, the Sandridge Road wastes and any proposals for development."
The site can be visited at www.bernardsheath.org