Park Street Green Belt in-fill housing scheme goes to appeal

PUBLISHED: 18:15 22 November 2014

Land off Old Orchard after it was cleared

Land off Old Orchard after it was cleared


A developer has gone to appeal over a small housing scheme which residents fear could destroy the rural gap between two communities.

The application to build 10 houses on Green Belt land in Old Orchard, Park Street, which was submitted to the district council earlier this year by the landowners, the Hyslop family, is on land that separates the village from St Albans.

The land as a whole is under seven different ownerships.

Residents strongly opposed the application and as well as support from local councillors, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and St Albans MP Anne Main, they drew up a petition with over 100 signatures that was presented to St Albans council in April.

The application was rejected on three grounds - inappropriate development in the Green Belt, loss of hedgerow and trees and the absence of a signed Section 106 agreement which compels developers to contribute financially to the local infrastructure.

Paul King, of campaign group Greenbelt which was set up to fight the application, said that all the trees and vegetation on the site had been felled in January shortly before the application was submitted and then cut back again late last month, just before the appeal was lodged.

He said it was disappointing that the decision was being appealed but not really any great surprise.

Paul pointed out that the land had become an ‘outstanding wildlife habitat” in the past 40 years and there were fears that the other landowners would also make a bid to build houses if the appeal was successful.

“This could affect the entire area bounded by Watling Street, Tippendell Lane and the A405,” he said.

Mrs Main added: “My constituents can be forgiven for feeling the Green Belt is under pressure.

“St Albans has one of the busiest planning departments in the contry and has an out-of-date local plan.

“While these proposals are not the biggest in the constituency, salami-slicing the land in this way quite clearly compromises the sanctity of the Green Belt surrounding St Albans.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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