More homes planned for St Albans’ Oaklands city site

A block of flats on the former Oaklands College site

A block of flats on the former Oaklands College site - Credit: Archant

MORE people could get a foot on the property ladder now 85 new flats are going to be built on the former Oaklands College city campus in St Albans.

Hightown Praetorian and Churches Housing Association has been granted planning permission to demolish the existing teaching blocks and construct three blocks of flats in Hatfield Road.

It comes following an appeal decision by the Planning Inspectorate after St Albans district council failed to make a decision on the scheme within the designated time frame.

David Bogle, chief executive of Hightown, said: “We are delighted to have a definitive decision on this very sustainable brownfield site and to be able to provide more affordable homes for the people of St Albans.”

While the council has subsequently approved an amended planning application for 75 new flats, they indicated should the 85-flat proposal have gone to committee within the timeframe it would have been turned down due to the scale of the buildings and the effect they would have on the conservation area.

That view was shared by St Albans Civic Society which had expressed concerns about overdevelopment and the height of the new four-storey blocks.

But in the appeal decision the inspector said the scheme, which includes around 40 per cent affordable housing, would be of benefit to the area as it would remove “unsightly” buildings currently on the site.

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The report also said: “The proposals maintain the character and appearance of the area and are compatible with the concept of the wider campus development and its relationship with the conservation area.

“The scheme would help to meet an acknowledged need for affordable housing and is accessible to local facilities and services.”

The plans have been approved subject to a number of conditions and also allow an underground car park for 85 cars and surface parking for 13 cars.

Around 270 flats have already been built of the former Oaklands College city campus site after the Secretary of State granted planning permission for residential development at an appeal in 2006.