Community green spaces at risk of development on St Albans estate

The proposed site on the Verulam estate.

The proposed site of a four-bedroom house on green space where Westfields meets Windridge Close on the Verulam estate, St Albans. - Credit: Timothy Beecroft

A four-bedroom home could be built on a slice of community green space controversially sold off to developers.

Land on the Verulam estate was thought to be public space until it was unexpectedly sold at auction after the original developer went into liquidation, even though a question mark hung over who actually owned the sites.

Now plans have been revealed for a large residential home on a small area of green space where Westfields meets Windridge Close, which campaigners claim will be totally out of keeping with the smaller semi-detached and terraced properties in the vicinity.

Verulam Residents Association says if approved the application would set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the estate.

Chair Timothy Beecroft said: "We still not heard if this application is going to be called in at a public meeting at which councillors and residents can put forward their views. Given the significance of this application in terms not just of its local impact but its wider implications regarding the future of the green spaces on the Verulam estate I think that many, most, or even all local residents would be absolutely outraged if this application was approved on the nod of an individual planning office.

"These green spaces have been maintained by the council since the estate was built, much enjoyed and used by the local community, and some of them, including the site under question, still bear council 'no ball game' signs.

"The question of who owns and who is responsible for the management of the green spaces on Verulam estate has, so far, been a shambles. It is now in danger of becoming a scandal."

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The Herts Ad revealed the extent of the great Verulam estate land sale back in June 2021, but this is the first application for development.

The first lot of land sold included an area to the south west of King Harry Lane, covering 15.26 acres including highway, paths, verges and what are described as "parcels of land with development potential subject to planning".

The land is situated in and around Mayne Avenue, Samian Gate, Flavian Close, Icknield Close, Glenum Close, Hadrian Close, Lindum Place, Augustus Close, Claudian Place, Antonine Gate and Ermine Close.

The second lot was 4.11 acres in and around Windridge Close, Westfields, Deva Close, Dubrae Close, Rowlatt Drive, Mayne Avenue and Corinium Gate.

To comment on the plans visit stalbans.gov.uk/view-and-track-planning-applications using reference 5/2022/0915.