1,000 home site initially excluded from St Albans Local Plan potentially back on table

The land proposed for development.

The land proposed for development. - Credit: Archant

Plans to build 1,000 houses on the edge of Redbourn could end up back on the table – after councillors refused to fully rule them out.

Rothamsted research. Photo: Danny Loo.

Rothamsted research. Photo: Danny Loo. - Credit: Archant

St Albans district council is currently allocating a number of broad locations for housing developments that would be part of their draft Local Plan.

Eleven sites have already been earmarked for inclusion in the Plan – which would hit the council’s target of building 14,608 homes before 2036.

But at a Planning Policy Committee meeting on Monday councillors raised the possibility of including a 12th site, put forward by Rothamsted Research.

Although they gave their backing to the draft Local Plan as it is, they also instructed committee chair Cllr Mary Maynard to continue to look at whether this North East Redbourn site could be included.

The site – owned by The Lawes Trust but rented by Rothamsted – was one of the sites suggested to the council following a ‘call for sites’ in January.

Although it was included in an initial shortlist of 12, the North East Redbourn site is not included in the working draft of the Local Plan.

Most Read

On Monday – after considering strategic site evaluation data – members of the Planning Policy Committee questioned whether the North East Redbourn site should have been excluded at all.

Officers told the committee that making such a change at this stage would be a “substantial task”.

But still the committee instructed Cllr Maynard to continue to explore options before cabinet meets to consider the draft Local Plan on Thursday.

Forty per cent of housing on the site would be affordable and 70 per cent of that allocation would be for social rented.

In addition the site evaluation highlights provision for new footpaths, a wildlife buffer, a new library and new schools.

Funds released by the project would go directly to Rothamsted and the Innovation Campus.

Cllr Maynard told the meeting she thought the plan was “a very good offer”. And she didn’t want it to be dismissed from consideration.

The draft Local Plan will be considered by cabinet on Thursday and is scheduled to go before council in July.