New plans to develop on Bricket Wood training college site

Bricket Wood Sport Centre, located in the grounds of the HSBC training college, St Albans

Bricket Wood Sport Centre, located in the grounds of the HSBC training college, St Albans - Credit: Archant

A development company which was refused permission for a large new housing scheme has defended its position and says it will submit a new, smaller, planning application.

St Congar Land had applied to St Albans council for outline planning permission for over 175 houses on Hanstead Park, the site of the former HSBC management training college in Smug Oak Lane, Bricket Wood.

But it was turned down by a meeting of the council’s planning referrals committee earlier this month on several grounds including its Green Belt position and fears that it would encroach on to the Green Belt from the footprint of the existing buildings.

Steve Taylor, a director of St Congar Land, maintained that because St Albans had a fundamental shortage of housing, the council should seek to maximise the potential of previously developed sites like Hanstead Park ahead of green field sites. He said: “In simplistic terms, for every 12 houses provided on this site, one acre of green field land is spared.”

Residents objecting to the scheme had also raised concerns about traffic and St Stephen parish council had questioned whether St Congar Land had grasped the traffic issues in the area which was prone to congestion.

But Mr Taylor said the company had undertaken a comprehensive review of all local highways and their capacity and even when taking into account the potential for development on the Rail Freight Terminal site in Park Street and the BRE site in Bricket Wood, the Highways Authority had raised no objections.

He pledged that the new smaller scheme which was being drawn up would address the issue of access and egress from Drop Lane which he accepted was a ‘significant issue’.

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And addressing residents’ concerns over school and healthcare facilities, he stressed that there would be sizeable contributions to new and improved facilities which the council was fully aware of.

Mr Taylor said that a new proposal was being drawn up which would be reduced in scale and comprise less housing. But he warned that by so doing, there would be more pressure on Green Belt sites and because there would be fewer homes, less than the planned 20 per cent would be affordable units.