St Albans Local Plan defended against “unfairness” accusations

Redbourn High Street. Photo: DANNY LOO

Redbourn High Street. Photo: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

Councillors have defended “unfair” plans to build more than 5,000 new houses in Redbourn.

The draft St Albans Local Plan, recommended to full council at a meeting last week, includes sweeping proposals to double the size of Redbourn by 2036.

Three new settlements are planned for Green Belt land in the ward - 2,400 homes at east Hemel Hempstead (south), 1,650 homes at east Hemel Hempstead (north) and 1,500 houses at north Hemel Hempstead.

If full council, consisting of all 58 St Albans district councillors, vote to formally publish the draft it will then go to consultation for six weeks in the autumn.

Redbourn parish councillor Victoria Mead argued the plan unfairly singled out the village: “Is this really fair that so much of the district’s housing will all be built in one place, in the Redbourn ward?

“Will it be fair, given that the devastating affect this will undoubtedly have on Redbourn village and the surrounding ward?”

Planning portfolio holder at St Albans district council (SADC), Cllr Mary Maynard, responded: “I would agree that any development, irrespective of where the development is, has an impact on the district. Clearly development has an impact on the district. It has an impact in terms of pressure on infrastructure, it has an impact in terms of loss of Green Belt.”

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She said the Hemel Hempstead settlements offer substantial infrastructural benefits and noted Redbourn village is over a mile away from the new housing, separated by a country park.

Cllr Mead retorted: “At the end of the day it seems Redbourn is going to be a sacrificial lamb for most of the development and it is severely going to affect the village and the village will never be the same again.

“Lots of Redbourn residents are extremely unhappy about this.”

Cllr Maynard said: “Anywhere where development is planned [the residents] do not want the development.

“Unfortunately we need development - we need houses for our young people, we need more social homes, we have massive waiting lists, we have young families overcrowded in unsuitable accommodation, we have to address all of these issues.”

Full council will decide whether to progress with the plan on July 11.