Fresh threat to Green Belt between St Albans and Park Street

Green Belt off Old Orchard

Green Belt off Old Orchard - Credit: Archant

A housing bid on a Green Belt site could be the start of destroying the rural gap between Park Street and St Albans according to concerned residents.

A planning application has been submitted to build 10 houses on Green Belt land off Old Orchard in Park Street, on a triangle of land bordered by the A405, Tippendell Lane and Watling Street.

The land (pictured above), currently a copse and open fields, separates Park Street village from St Albans and is under around seven different ownerships.

Should the development go ahead on the Green Belt site, it could be difficult for the district council to prevent similar applications for the large piece of land stretching to the BP Garage and Park Street roundabout and the other parcels of land to the north of Tippendell Lane.

In 1994 when the district council ratified its last planning blueprint, the District Plan, the independent inspector recognised that retaining the land as Green Belt was important in maintaining the rural separation of Park Street and St Albans. Work is still continuing on the new Local Plan.

Residents have voiced a number of concerns about the application which has already been ‘called in’ by local councillor Aislinn Lee for consideration by a planning committee because of the Green Belt implications.

Paul King, who lives in Old Orchard and is leading the campaign against the development, said local residents were very concerned about the application because, in their view, it would lead to excessive development in the immediate area with inadequate infrastructure, additional vehicles creating parking problems and increased traffic through a dangerous junction.

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He warned it would also lead to the, “partial elimination of the green space around the village as well as compromising the sanctity of the Green Belt land and the purpose of its existence, leading to the potential of further development on adjacent land, eliminating Park Street as a separate entity.”

Cllr Steve Bowes-Phipps, who also represents Park Street, said that once again developers were attempting to take advantage of the lack of an up-to-date Local Plan for St Albans by proposing inappropriate developments in the Green Belt.

He went on: “I am strongly against this proposal as I cannot see any ‘very special circumstances’ for covering over more Green Belt in the already far-too-congested south of the district.

“Perhaps this is a pipe dream but I would like to see developers work with the parish council and local district councillors to identify suitable sites rather than press ahead against the wishes of the local community, which only wastes their money and ours fighting unwanted and inappropriate development.”

Anyone concerned about the development can email Paul on and also write or email the council regarding planning application 5/2014/0316 by March 14.