Harpenden development decisions ‘railroaded’ through

Batford Springs.

Batford Springs. - Credit: Archant

The lack of affordable housing in Harpenden was put under the spotlight at a recent community meeting hosted by an action group.

And residents have also criticised Harpenden town and St Albans district councils for ignoring locals’ opinions on major schemes.

About 50 people attended the recent Batford Community Action Group’s (BCAG) annual meeting at All Saints Church.

A spokeswoman for the group said decisions on proposed developments were being made at local authority level with too little local input and were “railroaded” through.

She said the meeting ended with a, “plea to local politicians, urging them to engage with the local community”.

Several councillors, along with Harpenden Mayor Cllr Rosemary Farmer, attended the meeting.

Herts county councillor for Harpenden north east David Williams told residents that developers were expected to provide a percentage of affordable housing through schemes.

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But the spokeswoman said this had not helped young people, who were being “priced out of their home town”.

Specific issues afflicting Batford include a lack of access to doctors’ surgeries and too few local shops, including a pharmacy.

She added: “This is only forecast to worsen with significant new housing already underway on local brownfield sites, built with no corresponding spend on community needs.”

Cllr Williams told the meeting that the county council had recently surveyed traffic near sites investigated for a proposed new secondary school in Harpenden but the results were still being analysed.

At the end of the meeting one group member challenged local councillors by asking: “What can councillors do to regain our trust?”

BCAG was set up over five years ago to give the community a voice on local plans. It also organises various events in the town.