Two hundred homes for St Albans Tesco site?

UP to 200 new homes could be built on the city-centre site which Tesco had acquired with the intention of building a superstore.

A planning application for conservation area consent to demolish nine commercial, industrial and storage buildings on the former Eversheds printing works in Alma Road, St Albans, has been received by the district council.

If approved, it is expected to pave the way for the land to be sold off for a housing development with up to 200 homes on the land.

Tesco had planned to build a superstore on the site but after strong objections to its proposals, the supermarket giant pulled out of the scheme.

Since then it has been looked at by the county council as a possible site for a new primary school but was not pursued when a decision was made to transform Francis Bacon in Drake’s Drive, St Albans, into an all-through school for children from three to 18.

St Albans council’s portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Brazier, said that Tesco had been talking to planners about tidying up the site so they could walk away from it.

The council is hoping that there will be scope in any future development to incorporate the type of housing most needed in the district, notably one and two bedroom properties.

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He said the site could take as many as 200 new homes in a mix of flats and housing which would be subject to planning permission but would help to regenerate a part of St Albans which has been blighted by empty and derelict properties and the state of the former Odeon cinema.


Cllr Brazier said the council was also hoping to raise the threshold for affordable housing to 40 per cent which would make more homes available for local people.

Local resident Liz Needham, who lives in nearby Telford Court and helped in the fight against the Tesco superstore, said: “It would be nice if Tesco took responsibility for regenerating the area they have allowed to get run down and one would welcome the site being used for new housing developments, particularly if a fair proportion was affordable housing. Young people can’t afford to live in St Albans so it would be nice to see affordable houses in the city centre so it remains a vibrant area.”

St Albans Civic Society chairman Peter Trevelyan said he thought housing or community use for the site, such as a school, would be appropriate as long as any development fitted in with the Conservation Area.

n Oaklands College could be looking for as many as 400 new homes on their Smallford campus in the wake of the government pulling the plug on funding for a new hub and spoke development scheme last summer.

The college already has permission for 67 new homes to be built on the former greenhouse site and has been in discussion with the council about an additional 333 new homes at the Sandpit Lane end of the campus.

Cllr Brazier said there would have to be full consultation with residents of Smallford and the surrounding area before such a scheme was submitted.

But he dismissed suggestions that an application from the college to remove a number of trees on the Smallford site was linked to any imminent planning application.