St Albans community meadow 'safe from developers'
PUBLISHED: 14:34 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:34 29 October 2019
An appeal to allow horses to graze on a community meadow in St Albans has been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.
Bedmond Field, off Bedmond Lane, has been listed as an asset of community value (ACV) since 2014, but its status expired in March after five years.
The meadow is under threat of development from CALA Homes, who want to build stables and a road access on the site to make it suitable for horses to graze, and who have unsuccessfully challenged the meadow's ACV status in the Court of Appeal.
St Albans district council refused planning permission for the development in January this year, and CALA Homes appealed against the decision.
The appeal was dismissed on Monday, on the grounds that the meadow is on Green Belt land.
A statement from the inspector read: "The previous inspector found that with regard to the change of use, the proposal would provide for an outdoor recreational use of the site. He went on to find that the stables would have a very limited effect on openness.
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"I agree that the modest scale of the stable building, means that its effect on openness would be limited.
"Nonetheless, given the undeveloped nature of the site, in my judgement that effect is still material."
While the road accesses were deemed to not constitute inappropriate development, the stables themselves were judged as inappropriate, and there were no special circumstances to justify building on the land.
Verulam Residents Association has long opposed development on the meadow. Chairman Timothy Beecroft said: "This is now the third time that an application to develop Bedmond Lane Field has been refused by St Albans Council, and that the appeal against that refusal has been dismissed by an independent Planning Inspector
"Our pleasure at this result is tempered by the fact that there seems to be no end to this process.
"Sadly, there is nothing to stop CALA Homes, who are now 100 per cent owned by Legal and General, putting in yet another, slightly different, application.
"We'll see - if they do I am sure it will be opposed as vigorously as the previous two.
"In the meantime we can enjoy the fact that, for the time being at least, Bedmond Lane Field is safe from the developers."