Fight continues to build stables on St Albans community meadow
- Credit: Archant
A community meadow in St Albans is once again under threat of development following an application to build stables and road access on the site.
Bedmond Field, off Bedmond Lane, has been listed as an asset of community value (ACV) since 2014, and the meadow’s owners Banner Homes, which is owned by CALA Homes, challenged the meadow’s ACV status at the Court of Appeal in February and were unsuccessful.
CALA Homes has now put in another application to develop on the site and make it a suitable place for horses to graze.
Timothy Beecroft, chair of Verulam Residents’ Association, had trouble accessing the application due to problems with the council’s online planning portal, and is concerned that residents who oppose the development will have difficulty commenting on the proposal.
He said: “The Government has recently reviewed the National Planning Policy Framework and I think [CALA Homes] is hoping that they’ll get it through this time.
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“We’re reading the new framework in detail now and it looks as if they’ll have the same problems as last time. Nobody has been able to download any of the details. Anybody who’s looking up any planning application at the moment has been finding it difficult.
“When is it going to be fixed and will they extend the deadline so people can respond?”
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Mr Beecroft received a letter from the council saying the deadline for responses was 21 days from the date of the letter, making it Thursday, September 20. However the deadline on the application is Wednesday, September 26.
He said: “Having looked at the new guidelines we’ll continue to fight to keep the meadow unspoilt, but we feel this is the hardest fight we’ve had to face yet.”
Tracy Harvey, head of planning for St Albans council, said: “We check our online planning application database regularly.
“As is often the case with IT systems, there are occasional snags and Mr Beecroft may have encountered one when he tried to view the documents.
“I can confirm that the date for comments about this planning application is the 26th September, giving many more than the statutory 21 days to respond.”
The application, with reference number 5\2018\2092, is available on the district council website.