St Albans Oaklands campaigners rally opposition to housing scheme

St Albans East End

St Albans East End - Credit: Archant

Objections have been pouring in from St Albans residents to show their concern about a proposal to build nearly 350 homes on Green Belt land at Oaklands College.

The college has applied to St Albans district council for permission to build 348 homes at its Smallford campus, off Hatfield Road.

Oaklands’ principal Zoe Hancock has previously said the college’s facilities are not fit for purpose and that much-needed money raised from the sale of land for housing would be reinvested in revamping the campus.

But opponents of the scheme, currently under consideration, have warned that it is “ill thought-out” and will result in an overcrowded development.

Locals have just one week left to comment on the application.

According to objections already lodged with the council, one resident said people had historically moved from the city centre to St Albans’ outskirts so they could live in a “very pleasant semi-rural part of the district”.

One man described the Oaklands site as “providing a living lung to the local community”.

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He added: “Waiting times at the local doctor’s surgeries are already extensive and will not be assisted by up to 1,000 new residents in the area.”

Another bone of contention has been the impact on local roads, particularly Sandpit Lane, shops, surgeries and schools.

With nearby Beaumont School, Oakwood Drive, also planning to have homes built on some of its fields to provide funding for expansion, objectors pointed out that this too would add to traffic.

The over-subscribed secondary school is expected to put some of its playing fields on the market before Christmas, paving the way for up to 75 new homes.

Planning permission has already been granted for that development.

Worried residents have also written to the Herts Advertiser, saying they are “extremely concerned about the gradual disappearance of our precious and valuable green belt”.

They and the Marshalswick North Residents’ Association have urged residents to submit their views on the development in time for the consultation deadline of Friday, December 6.

Oaklands’ planning application (number 5/2013/2589) is available to view on the council’s website.