Decision reached on homes plan for King Offa site

The King Offa pub in St Albans.

The King Offa pub in St Albans. - Credit: Google Maps

Fourteen new affordable homes will be built on the site of the former King Offa pub, after councillors green-lit the long-discussed plans.

The district council purchased the land in Wallingford Walk, Sopwell, to provide the new homes following the pub’s closure in 2015, but no scheme has been backed until now.

The £5.1million plans were unanimously approved at a meeting of the district council’s planning control committee on Monday.

The pub was demolished in 2018 with the site left vacant awaiting a decision on a new scheme, with these plans including one two-bedroom house, 11 three-bedroom homes and two four-bedroom houses.

Five of the proposed homes would be terraced along Wallingford Walk, with two detached dwellings in Abbots Avenue West. 

Four more detached homes would sit to the north of the site, with a bungalow proposed for Norman Close.

The council was given the green light to progress with the scheme in August 2021, after being backed by their housing and inclusion committee and have now been granted planning permission to allow building work to get under way, once legal agreements have been confirmed.

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In a report for councillors ahead of Monday’s meeting, officers have said that despite the irregular layout of the site there was enough space to avoid an over development of the site, and there was enough distance from existing properties to avoid overlooking.

However, councillors raised concerns about whether too much was being included on one site, and whether the new residents would benefit if the layout was amended. 

Cllr Frances Leonard said: “It does seem to be just a bungalow too far, as far as I’m concerned. It might be a little more spacious, you’d get more parking. I’m wondering if we could sacrifice a bungalow to get a little more parking or a little bit more space, but I don’t think I can come up with a reason for refusal based on that.”

A total of 17 parking spaces are also included within the plan, which is deemed a shortfall of spaces against the Local Plan parking standards, but officers have said this is sufficient parking provision.

Concerns were also raised about the lack of planning for electric vehicle charging points and solar plans in the proposals, however officers said this could be able to be addressed at a later stage.

Councillors were supportive of the plans of building new homes for the council’s housing stock, and the introduction of more affordable housing in the district.

Officers had recommended the scheme for approval, subject to the completion of legal agreements, and members unanimously backed the proposals.

As the applicant, the district council will have until February 21 2022 to complete a Section 106 agreement before planning permission can be formally granted.

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