Should St Albans become part of London?

London Mayor Boris Johnson. Photo credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire EADT 3/5/08

London Mayor Boris Johnson. Photo credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire EADT 3/5/08 - Credit: PA

Easing pressure on over-populated London could be achieved by swallowing up the St Albans district and other commuter strongholds according to a top planning consultant.

Barney Stringer claims commuter belt towns and villages are “utterly dependent” on London in a blog post titled ‘Is London too small?’

His idea is that villages, towns and cities, such as St Albans and Harpenden, come under the London boundaries.

He said: “These are not so much dormitory towns, as a whole dormitory belt around London that is utterly dependent on the city for work. In many cases entire districts – Epping Forest, Spelthorne, Epsom and Ewell, and Three Rivers – provide fewer jobs for their residents than London does.

“Their council tax does not contribute to the services they use there during the working week, nor do they get a vote on how those services should be provided.”

While many agree, the revelation has sparked social media backlash from some people living in the ‘Green Belt towns’ that border London.

Chris Brazier, councillor for Colney Heath, said: “60 per cent of St Albans commutes into London for work. If you continue expanding it you will lose the Green Belt, you will lose the place that people come back and relax in.

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“It’s very dangerous. St Albans is the last bastion of the metropolitan Green Belt and we would like to keep it that way.

“Yes it would excite developers and planners, but not me, or the people living here. When you go in to London all you see is brick and when you come to St Albans there is a break from that. It’s refreshing to come off the train and see fields. St Albans is still metropolitan but you can relax in green spaces.”

The proposal has continued to fuel debate on social media, but what do you think? Email us at

To read Stringer’s full post, click here.