St Albans councillors reject garages to flats plan

A NEW bid to demolish garages and build additional flats in Marshalswick has been turned down by district councillors against their officers’ advice.

The proposal was to demolish 12 garages - retaining four where the owners did not wish them to be pulled down - and build six new garages and eight one and two bedroom flats on the site between Hughenden Road and The Ridgeway in Marshalswick.

The bid was just the latest in a long line of planning applications to demolish garages and build new ones and flats on the site, which is located behind the Quadrant shopping centre.

The application was called into St Albans plans central committee by local councillor Geoff Churchard who was concerned about the “serious parking problem” facing residents of the existing flats which had been exacerbated by selling off some of the garages and parking spaces that should provide parking.

He said that no sooner had Sandridge parish council and Herts Highways eased some of the pressure by providing extra parking on The Ridgeway in a bid to solve some of the current parking problems, another development was proposed.

Cllr Churchard also pointed out that residents were already destroying the verges by parking beyond the wooden posts and the better solution would be to return the area to existing residents to meet the current parking need.

Residents backed his concerns citing the same concerns about parking as well as loss of trees, the overshadowing of the communal garden and the overpowering bulk of the development.

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Committee chairman, Cllr Melvyn Teare, said that councillors had turned down the plan against their officers’ recommendation primarily for design reasons, but also because the flats would be built over the four remaining garages with whose owners negotiations had been unsuccessful which he described as “atrocious”.