Second rejection for homes on St Albans Green Belt

A CONTROVERSIAL scheme for 116 houses and a 72-bed care home on Green Belt land near Woollams playing fields in St Albans has been rejected for a second time in four months.

Despite the refusal of the major scheme at last Wednesday’s planning referrals meeting, district councillor for Colney Heath, Chris Brazier, warned it was “inevitable” that future expansion would encroach upon Green Belt.

Hunston Properties submitted an amended application to build Sewell Park with 360 car parking spaces and on-site sports facilities for St Albans Girls’ School, on land to the rear of 112-156B Harpenden Road.

The plan has been controversial with residents uniting to form community group, Campaign by Locals Against Sewell Housing (CLASH), to fight what they consider is inappropriate development on the Green Belt.

In October last year St Albans district council backed their concerns, throwing out the application. But Hunston has since launched an appeal against that refusal which is to be heard next month.

At last week’s planning meeting councillors were told that while the layout of the housing development was identical to that submitted last year, the scale and height of some homes had been altered.

Cllr Eileen Harris said while it was a “difficult” application to determine as the development would be out of sight, building 25 homes per hectare, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom houses, equated to a “crowded development”.

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Cllr Harris added: “But it is inevitable we will build on the Green Belt.”

Cllr Brazier said that given development had been approved at the likes of Beaumont School and Oaklands College, and with the imminent sell-off of All Saints Pastoral Centre in London Colney to developers, there would be further expansion on to Green Belt.

He added: “It is inevitable the Green Belt question may come up at appeal. We are a Green Belt conservation area, and there are going to be pressures on us all the time.”

Officers recommended Hunston’s application be refused because the scale of development would be inappropriate in the Green Belt and that if built, would have undue prominence in the local landscape.