St Albans’ Eversheds site development plans approved

New images of the London Road project

New images of the London Road project - Credit: Archant

ST ALBANS is set for a housing boost after plans for a project that would “revitalise” a derelict site have secured planning consent.

Spen Hill Developments will now forge ahead with the scheme, which will create 80 new homes on the former Eversheds site on the junction of Alma Road and London Road which was once earmarked for a new Tesco superstore.

In August last year the developers, the regeneration subsidiary of Tesco, had an initial planning application refused due to issues with the design and shortage of affordable housing.

But district councillors gave the thumbs up to the amended proposal at a plans (central) committee on Monday, despite voicing concern there was still scope for more affordable housing.

Steve Walker, managing director of Collinson Hall which is overseeing the London Road Project, said: “We were able to sit down and discuss face-to-face with the planning officers and overcome the problems.

“The frustrating thing has been the time it took to make this happen but it is done now which is great.”

He continued: “I think it will bring an extremely high-quality development to an area in the city that has been run-down for many years.

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“It is a scheme that nobody has seen previously and it will revitalise that portion of town. It is not just for the people who are going to buy into the development it is for everyone.”

In total the scheme incorporates nine affordable houses and developers have agreed to make a £65,000 contribution, which was expected to go to a Cherry Tree Housing Association to build two flats for people with learning difficulties in London Colney.

But it was revealed just days before the meeting that the council had now decided the housing department would be given the money to redistribute.

Caroline McCaffrey, chair of Cherry Tree Housing Association, said: “We were so shocked and saddened that on Tuesday we found out St Albans district council had discussed with somebody at the county council who said there was no need for this sort of housing.

“It would have meant the go-ahead of building the two flats and these are now in jeopardy.”

St Peter’s councillor Michael Green, who sat on Monday’s planning panel, explained the council felt it should be spent on affordable housing in closer proximity to the site in London Road.

Commenting on the decision to grant planning permission he said: “I think for people that live nearby it is the end of a long-running saga and I think people will welcome that. By developing this site it eases the pressure on Green Belt sites. “It is not an ideal application but it is good as we are going to get.”

Five existing buildings are due to be demolished in April and further work on the 40-month project is likely to commence by the end of the year.