Is Bricket Wood being over-developed?
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Fears over the infilling of a wildlife haven in Bricket Wood are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the over-development of the village, it has been warned.
Plans for six three-bedroom homes have recently been submitted for 2,260 sq m of land to the rear of Oakwood Road and Hornbeams by Edit Residential Ltd of St Albans, currently a well-populated wildlife site.
But this scheme is just one of many said to be blighting the semi-rural nature of the village, including new developments adjoining Bucknalls Drive and Hanstead Park.
The lack of a district Local Plan has resulted in many developments receiving planning approval, with little opposition from the district council and St Stephen Parish Council, according to local resident Beverley Coult.
She said: "While St Albans does face targets set by the government to provide a specific number of new homes each year, and must determine applications on a 'presumption in favour' context, that does not mean it should adopt an 'anything goes' attitude towards planning applications, which is clearly what is now happening.
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"Many individual properties are being built or extended in a style/size that negatively impacts neighbouring properties. SADC consistently turns a blind eye to valid objections raised. St Stephen Parish Council hold planning committee meetings; while on average they object to some 50 per cent of applications, SADC ignore those objections for all but the most flagrant cases.
"There is little or no follow up by the parish council, making the exercise somewhat ineffective."
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District councillor Sue Featherstone, who represents Chiswell Green and Bricket Wood West, said: "There is no doubt we have had a great deal of development in Bricket Wood; Hanstead Park and Lancaster Grange for example.
"As for the presumption, I am not sure how this could be. The planning officers as you know, have to assess all applications with planning policy/planning law in mind. As a local ward councillor I am able to call-in any application; that I would like scrutinised by a planning committee. Also, if a planning application has produced many comments from different sources, I may decide to call-in.
"Obviously the need for extra housing is there, but it still has to be addressed responsibly."