Fears over parking and size of new development on St Albans builders merchant

Cresswick's plans for the Cape Road site.

Cresswick's plans for the Cape Road site. - Credit: Cresswick

A former St Albans builders merchant will be transformed after developers were given the green light to build 37 new homes on the site - despite concerns over parking.

Last week, councillors backed plans to build the new homes and flats adjacent to Cape Road despite worries about an overdevelopment of the site.

Developers Cresswick will be allowed to build 25 apartments and 12 townhouses as part of the plans, which would see the brownfield site brought back into use.

The council had received 48 objections to the scheme, which included concerns about a loss of daylight to nearby properties and whether the new units are too small.

Speaking at the district council’s Planning Referrals Committee on February 28, the developers agent Mark Harris said the proposals “offers significant benefits for your district and locality”, including new housing and re-use of a vacant site.

Mr Harris added the development offers a “high quality design consistent with your locality”.

Ward Cllr Anthony Rowlands (Liberal Democrat, Ashley) said residents accept the site is suitable for development, but asked whether this would be an appropriate balance.

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He said despite communication from the developers, “nothing fundamental has changed” to address concerns about the size of the development.

He also noted a letter from Herts police which pointed out the risk of cramped living standards, and claimed some of the communal space could put tenants at risk of burglaries.

Councillors said they were in favour of developments on brownfield sites, but echoed concerns about whether it would constitute an overdevelopment of the plot.

However, officers had recommended the scheme for approval, saying the development would provide new flats in a sustainable location and would not cause a significant impact on the local character.

The meeting’s chair Cllr Jamie Day said: “I agree with the debate, this is a prime site for developing but it’s a bit disappointing the car parking isn’t more sufficient, and the affordable housing has been diluted through the viability assessment, which again I find disappointing.”

The plans were backed by councillors by 9-1.