St Albans community meadow under threat of development despite rejections
PUBLISHED: 16:59 08 December 2019
A new appeal has been lodged to allow horses to graze on a community meadow in St Albans, despite repeated rejections from 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.
CALA Homes have made multiple attempts to challenge the meadow's protected status in order to build stables and a road access on the site to make it suitable for horses to graze.
The appeal was most recently dismissed in October, on the grounds that the meadow is in Green Belt land. While campaigners against the development from Verulam Residents' Association celebrated the victory, they were concerned that there was nothing stopping CALA Homes from submitting another, almost identical, application.
The group is working on an application to have the meadow's ACV status extended, but said the owner of an ACV can make it "almost impossible" to renew the status by closing the area off to the public.
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After the field was made into an ACV, CALA Homes fenced off all of the meadow apart from two footpaths, and put up notices saying 'private land, no unauthorised access'.
In light of the most recent appeal, Dr Robert Wareing, from the residents' association, said: "CALA seem determined to crush people's opposition to their plans, just as they intend to crush the wildflowers and wildlife of this beautiful meadow.
"It is grossly unfair that they can continue with this tsunami of applications."
October marked the third time the district council refused an application to develop on the field, and that the appeal against the refusal was dismissed by an independent planning inspector.
Chair of Verulam Residents' Association Timothy Beecroft said: "Once again, and despite their three previous failures, CALA are making an attempt to encroach upon Bedmond Lane Field.
"And once again I am sure this will meet with a large number of well-argued objections from local residents, even though the time for submitting comments covers the busy period leading up to Christmas."
Responses to the application are due by Christmas Eve.