St Albans planning application meets with opposition from neighbours

1 Mount Pleasant

1 Mount Pleasant - Credit: Archant

A revised application to build townhouses in St Albans has met with fierce opposition from neighbours, who describe the development as a ‘monstrous barracks’.

Residents of Old Garden Court have objected to a planning application to replace a bungalow in Mount Pleasant with a set of four-storey townhouses. The application was initially rejected by St Albans district council but comes before the planning committee again on Monday.

The earlier application was rejected by councillors last August on the grounds that the size, scale, layout and design would stand out next to nearby locally listed buildings, the car parking arrangements were unacceptable and traffic would not be able to flow freely and safely.

The latest application, which was made in November, has met with more than 130 objections from local residents. Objectors highlighted that there was not a substantial enough difference between both applications to warrant the council responding differently this time.

Resident Michael O’Donnell said: “Nothing significant like the height or depth has changed. It was a monstrous barracks last time; this time it’s a monstrous barracks with a gap in the middle.”

According to neighbours, the proposed development does not provide enough parking spaces, and the narrow drive of Old Garden Court does not have enough space for turning, which means trucks and service vehicles will be reversing out blindly onto Mount Pleasant, directly opposite a children’s playground.

Roger Porter, of Old Garden Court, said: “We’re asking councillors to come and look at the site for themselves, see the true picture and then make their own judgement.

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“They should see for themselves the crazy parking proposals, the proximity of existing houses in Old Garden Court and Welclose Street in order to make an informed decision. We believe with this information the Planning Committee has to reject this application.”

The application has been recommended for approval by the planning department, but has been called in for discussion by the planning committee by Cllr Edgar Hill.

Old Garden Court residents have submitted an FOI (Freedom of Information) request to the planning department to find out why the application was recommended for approval after six months of deliberation.