Harpenden common-land access bid denied

Planning inspector dismisses councillor’s bid to carve up Green Belt land for driveway

A TOWN councillor’s bid to build a driveway over Harpenden Common land to access a proposed new home in the conservation area has been thwarted after a planning inspector dismissed his appeal.

Cllr Lee Jackson wanted to overturn St Albans district council’s rejection of his planning application to construct a new access way from Eastmoor Park to the site currently used as the rear garden of his home, Greygates, where he wants to build a four-bedroom home.

The council spurned his proposal, saying the driveway would have a negative impact on the rural character and appearance of the area as it would be an urbanising feature.

Planning inspector Phillipa Jarvis appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government dismissed the appeal saying Cllr Jackson’s proposal was “not acceptable.”

She felt the mooted driveway would harm the appearance of the Green Belt and the character and appearance of Harpenden Conservation Area. In her opinion, the introduction of a new surfaced driveway would, “comprise an obviously new and semi-formal feature within what is currently an undisturbed and undeveloped area of common land.”

She went on: “I appreciate that there are a number of other driveways of varied surfaces, some of which cross common land, within the locality. I have also noted Little Lane, an existing track which serves a small number of dwellings to the east of the site.

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“However, none of these affect this particular part of common land and thus the proposed driveway would be a new feature in the streetscene of this part of Eastmoor Park.”

In January this year when the appeal was stilll pending, former Harpenden resident Martin Hockridge hit out at Cllr Jackson’s bid to create an access road through part of common land as he had fond memories of growing up in an area which he described as, “a haven for wildlife.”