St Albans locals urged to fight housing plans

Roost of brown long-eared bat found in home marked for demolition

A ST ALBANS community action group is urging people living near a proposed major residential development on Green Belt land to help fight the scheme by sending objections to the district council.

People have until September 21 to submit comments on a bid to build 116 homes, a 72-bed care home and two tennis courts on a rectangular 5.1ha site to the rear of Harpenden Road, between Sandridgebury Lane and Woollams playing fields.

In its planning application to St Albans district council, promoters of Sewell Park, Hunston Properties, are also seeking approval to create 335 car parking spaces for the houses and an additional 25 spaces for the care home.

A spokesman for Campaign by Locals Against Sewell Housing (CLASH) said: “CLASH would encourage those living adjacent to the proposed site, or directly affected by the proposals from traffic congestion or increased pressure on public services, as well as people throughout the district who object to the development of Green Belt, to review the application on the council website and write to the case officer, Timothy King, with their objections.”

Access to Sewell Park would be provided if a house at 126 Harpenden Road, acquired on behalf of the site’s owners, Trustees of James Henry Frank Sewell Deceased, is demolished.

However, a study into bats at that house, submitted alongside Hunston’s application, shows that brown long-eared bats are roosting within the roof void. Bat ecologists said that given the small number of the bat’s droppings inside the roof, the roost appears to be used occasionally.

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All bat species in the UK fully protected by law. The ecologists said that the proposed development will lead to the loss of a brown long-eared bat roost and thus before the house can be demolished, a European Protected Species licence was required.

In its application, Hunston said there was a significant shortfall in houses and a need for care facilities in St Albans.