'Remember when all this was fields?' Massive development proposed for north-west Harpenden

The green space at the centre of this image will form the NW Harpenden development.

The green space at the centre of this image will form the NW Harpenden development. - Credit: Google

Arable fields to the north-west of Harpenden could be lost to development under a new scheme for up to 550 homes.

Legal & General has revealed proposals for developing the site, located off Luton Road, close to King’s School, Spire Hospital and The Oval, but not including Cooters End Farm.

The scheme will involved up to 550 new homes of which 168 will be affordable, and 130 will be integrated retirement living.

It will feature a community hub including restaurant, gym and an early years setting, all overlooking a public square with opportunities for work hub, community meetings, plus more than 11ha of new public open space including additional play areas to meet local need, new junior sports pitches and a pavilion.

A statement on the project reads: "Land at north-west Harpenden has previously been identified for new homes by St Albans council and an earlier community consultation event was held in January 2020 by the council in collaboration with L&G. 

"The council's draft Local Plan identified the site as a broad location for development with Policy S6 viii requiring at least 580 homes to be built, however in November 2020 the council withdraw the plan in order to commence work on a new plan for the extended period of 2020-2038. 

"Despite the withdrawal of the St Albans Local Plan, the need for homes is as critical as ever, which is why we are preparing a planning application for submission later this year.   

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"Discussions with Hertfordshire County Council in 2022 have confirmed that a two-form entry primary school is not required at this location due to low demand for primary school spaces. We explored the reasons why a school was no longer required and this presented some interesting findings about Harpenden which have significantly influenced our vision for the site."

Jeff Phillips, chair of The Harpenden Society, said: "The society was shocked by the sudden announcement and its timing in the midst of the holiday season, requiring feedback to the proposal by August 9.

"Our views on the negative impact of the development are well known, having been expressed following the January 28 2020 presentation when L&G’s proposal as part of the now defunct Local Plan were scrutinised.

"Primarily the lack of infrastructure to support the massive growth of population and the likelihood of hugely aggravated traffic congestion on the adjacent A1081.

"The society will be investigating the legal aspects of the situation and the accuracy of the demographic data."

The first stage of consultation is now underway, and residents are urged to comment at landgharpenden.co.uk before August 9. The second stage of the consultation will involve an in-person exhibition in September, and all comments will be considered in the context of finalising the proposals for outline planning submission in the autumn.