St Albans football club stadium dreams dashed in draft local plan

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 17 May 2018

An artist's impression of St Albans City Football Club's new Noke Lane Community Stadium and housing. Picture: SACFC.

An artist's impression of St Albans City Football Club's new Noke Lane Community Stadium and housing. Picture: SACFC.

Archant

Saint Albans City Football Club’s dreams of a new stadium have suffered a massive setback.

In the draft site selection for the upcoming Local Plan, council officers argued against going ahead with the development of a 1,265-home community village on Noke Lane to the south of the city.

This 52.7ha development would have included a 6,000 capacity football stadium which would have been a new home for the football club, which currently resides at Clarence Park.

In their analysis, which will be discussed by the council’s planning policy committee next week, officers wrote: “Given the relationship between the site and the gap between Bricket Wood and Watford any reduction in openness would compromise the separation of settlements in physical and visual terms.

“The site contributes to the 0.2km gap separating St Albans and Chiswell Green and the 1.1km gap between Chiswell Green and Bricket Wood.

“Given the scale of both gaps, any reduction would compromise the separation of settlements in physical and visual terms, as well as overall visual openness.”

In another part of the report specifically addressing the club’s desires, officers said: “The club has ambitions to improve its status and provide better facilities and the council supports those ambitions.

“The existing ground in Clarence Park causes some environmental problems and the scope to expand the facilities is constrained.

“Consequently, the relocation of the club would be desirable if an acceptable new location can be found.”

The Clarence Park stadium has been routinely broken into and vandalised over the past few years.

It was hoped the new stadium would have included a new 3G community pitch and clubhouse.

St Albans council’s portfolio holder for planning Mary Maynard said: “We support the football club and I would be happy to talk with them about it going forward and we will do everything we can to help them.

“What we cannot do is identify a plot of land for them as we have to follow an analytical process, which will be assessed by the planning inspector after we have completed the plan.

“There is no point identifying the land and it going to the inspector and them saying it’s inappropriate for Green Belt.”

Neither of SACFC’s co-owners, Lawrence Levy and John McGowan, could be reached to comment as the Herts Advertiser went to press.

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