Planning permission granted for new affordable homes in Sandridge despite initial refusal

The former allotment site on Sandridge High Street. Picture: Danny Loo

The former allotment site on Sandridge High Street. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Planning permission has been granted to build affordable homes on old allotment plots in Sandridge, despite the scheme being initially refused by St Albans council.

The former allotment site on Sandridge High Street. Picture: Danny Loo

The former allotment site on Sandridge High Street. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

The council’s planning referrals committee met on Monday to discuss the proposal to build 14 semi-detached three-bedroom homes on land between Hopkins Crescent and the former Baptist Chapel on St Albans Road.

In October, council officers recommended councillors refuse outline planning permission because of a lack of surface water drainage assessment, and because Green Belt land can only be used for affordable housing if the site does not exceed 0.4 hectares, while the proposed site is 0.46 hectares.

In Monday’s meeting, planning agent Brian Parker said: “Applications for 100 per cent affordable housing are allowed in the Green Belt under policy eight of the Local Plan.

“There are three reasons for refusal. One: inappropriate development in the Green Belt because your officers were convinced that these are not affordable houses; two: the lack of affordable housing; and three: the lack of surface water drainage assessment.


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“The council’s officers claim that no evidence was submitted to demonstrate the need for three-bedroom shared ownership houses was as bogus as the claims the flood authority made in its application.

“Common sense dictates that reason one and two are unjustified.”

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Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, who was chairing the meeting, said: “This is a Green Belt site. We have the right to defend this land on the basis that it did not qualify for very special circumstances.

“The mistake we have made is the flood risk.”

Before the committee took a vote, solicitor Charles Turner said: “This committee refused this application for three reasons, and one of the reasons subsequently turned out to be undefendable on appeal. “Members have to think very carefully about whether they cannot go behind the reason that they have already given.”

The majority of committee members voted to grant the recommendation, while two members abstained from the vote.

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