St Albans Local Plan consultation results: fears for infrastructure

Cllr Mary Maynard.

Cllr Mary Maynard. - Credit: Archant

Infrastructure issues have come out as a top priority for residents affected by widespread development plans in the St Albans Local Plan.

Out of approximately 2,400 people who responded to the consultation on the new St Albans Local Plan, most were concerned about infrastructure issues and protecting natural spaces.

The Local Plan makes provision for 15,000 new homes to be built in the district between 2020 and 2036. That figure has been calculated by the Government and is expected to be imposed on St Albans district council (SADC) as part of the new National Planning Policy Framework.

As 81 per cent of land in St Albans is classified as Green Belt, portfolio holder for planning at SADC, Cllr Mary Maynard, has stressed that some will have to be sacrificed.

Eight separate settlements have been identified to take on the majority of the building, and which have been identified by council officers as least harmful to Green Belt objectives - these are North West Harpenden, North East Harpenden, North of St Albans, East St Albans, land at London Colney, land at Chiswell Green, East Hemel Hempstead (south) and East Hemel Hempstead (north).

Creating completely new garden villages on Green Belt land was ranked the least desirable way to achieve more homes in the district by residents.

Residents also mostly disagreed with expanding existing settlements into the Green Belt. They were most worried about roads, but also doctors and schools.

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Small to medium sized family homes were perceived as most needed, followed by first-time buyer flats, and then affordable rented housing.

Cllr Maynard said: “The first thing is I was really pleased there was more than double the number of people than last time who responded. Many people responded again but we had a whole new group of people, particularly young people, so it is great to get their views in the mixture.”

Twenty per cent, the highest portion, of people who responded to the consultation were over 65. Only 13 people between 16 and 24 submitted responses - which is up from zero in the failed Strategic Local Plan.

She continued: “The big concern is infrastructure and it’s an issue we have to address and a concern we share.”