Go-ahead for affordable homes at former London Colney hospital site

The site of the former Napsbury Church

The site of the former Napsbury Church - Credit: Archant

Construction of a shop and 18 affordable apartments proposed for a former hospital site will go ahead after approval from the district council.

Michael Rubinow applied to build a retail unit and 18 self-contained flats on an area which previously housed a chapel – Napsbury Church – which has since been demolished in the grounds of the former Napsbury Hospital in London Colney.

And on Monday April 20, the go-ahead was granted by St Albans district council’s plans south committee.

The plan had been called in by Cllr Katherine Gardner for a committee decision as there were concerns about a possible over-development of the Green Belt area, located on Goldring Way.

Three-metre-high boarded fencing has been on the boundaries of the site for some time.

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London Colney parish council feared the plan might lead to the closure of the Post Office in the village if one was proposed for the retail building.

However in a committee report, planning officers pointed out the area within the former hospital site was shown as being a village centre on the master plan for the whole Napsbury development.

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They said that not only was a possible Post Office not mentioned in the application but the opening and closure of outlets in the village was outside the council’s remit.

Committee chairman, Cllr Jacob Quagliozzi, said that although there was concern among local councillors about parking, there was a need for more affordable housing in the area.

Officers had said that, on balance, the community benefit of 100 per cent affordable housing outweighed the impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

Cllr Quagliozzi added: “I welcome more affordable housing, as it is a necessity in St Albans. However I did share concerns about car parking and access, in relation to the retail unit. But, the advice from officers was that the reasons for any objection to the scheme were unlikely to stand up if scrutinised by a planning inspector, should any refusal go to appeal.”

A planning contribution to the tune of about £37,000 will be paid by the developer towards secondary education, libraries, highways and leisure.

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