Campaign to keep Chiswell 'green' gains momentum

Green Belt land in Chiswell Green threatened with development.

Green Belt land in Chiswell Green threatened with development. - Credit: Keep Chiswell Green

A grassroots campaign has targeted thousands of homes with leaflets in a bid to prevent the over-development of St Albans Green Belt.

The initiative comes after Cala Homes submitted a planning application to build 391 homes to the south of Chiswell Green Lane, following on a bid to build 330 homes on former polo fields to the north of the road - both prime Green Belt sites.

Meanwhile, other plans have been submitted for 265 homes at the former Butterfly World, 240 at Rose Farm, 176 behind Long Fallow and at Noke Lane, and nearly 2,000 more south of Noke Lane and Lye Lane.

Green Belt land in Chiswell Green threatened with development.

Green Belt land in Chiswell Green threatened with development. - Credit: Keep Chiswell Green

Non-political group Keep Chiswell Green has delivered 2,000 leaflets to addresses around the area in a bid to halt the developments. It claims because St Albans council does not have an up-to-date Local Plan and is under pressure from the Government to meet an unrealistic and outdated housebuilding target, more schemes could emerge in the years to come.

Secretary Jonathan Channing said: “Even one major development in Chiswell Green will change the village from a medium-sized suburb of St Albans to a town in its own right. It will have to be renamed “Chiswell” as there won’t be any “green” left !”

KCG co-chair, Shirani St Ledger McCarthy added: “I believe that, by working with other groups who also want to limit development to what is absolutely necessary, we can change the targets and stop the rampant destruction of the Green Belt that would result if we do nothing.

“Some say that we can’t change these components of the planning process and that we need to try to exert influence to meld the new developments into our villages in such a way as to minimise the impact on the existing population and environment, but I believe the new developments are not inevitable.

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"In a time when so many people's democratic rights are not respected, we should use our voices to speak up and make a change for the better.”

A spokesperson for Cala Homes said: "The application made will not only provide 391 homes, but also land for a new two form entry primary school, large areas of public open space and an accessible children’s play area. The development will also deliver 10% biodiversity net gain through the creation of new habitats for existing wildlife in the area.  

“To shape the planning application and plans for the area, Cala conducted a comprehensive consultation with the local community, to ensure the scheme meets the wants and needs of those living and working in the local area.”

For more information on Keep Chiswell Green see keepchiswellgreen.org