Government calls in Oaklands College plan

A MAJOR planning application to develop a new Oaklands College building and housing in Smallford has been called in by the Secretary of State. The application, together with another residential scheme for the former Oaklands site in Highfield Lane, St Alb

A MAJOR planning application to develop a new Oaklands College building and housing in Smallford has been called in by the Secretary of State.

The application, together with another residential scheme for the former Oaklands site in Highfield Lane, St Albans, were recommended for approval by the district council in June.

But the Secretary of State for communities and local government Hazel Blears has the option of calling in applications which depart from national or local policies and on this occasion she has chosen to do so.

Oaklands has come up with a so-called hub-and-spoke scheme to redevelop its facilities in Herts. It wants to build the hub - a 31,930square metres building - on the Smallford Campus in Hatfield Road together with 62 flats and houses.

It plans a further 38 properties on land in Highfield Lane, St Albans, but both sites are in the Green Belt where residential development is not normally permitted.

A planning inquiry will now have to be held.