Victory in St Albans Green Belt homes battle

OPPONENTS of a major development proposed for St Albans Green Belt have notched up a major victory.

District councillors have turned down an outline planning application for Sewell Park, which would incorporate 116 homes, a 72-bed care home, tennis courts and 360 car parking spaces on land near Woollams playing fields at the rear of Harpenden Road.

Local residents who have formed themselves into an action group CLASH – Campaign by Locals Against Sewell Housing – have fought the scheme from Hunston Properties since it first came to light and there are now 1,500 signed-up supporters opposed to the plan for the 5.24 hectare site.

Among the objections is the existing congestion and prospect of increased traffic on local roads, the insufficient parking provision and the scheme’s inappropriateness in the Green Belt.

In the report which went to Tuesday’s planning referrals committee, officers said that the proposal was considered a reasonably well designed residential scheme which met both local and national planning policies except for one crucial issue – its position in the Green Belt.

They did not accept that there were special circumstances to warrant recommending approval.

Cllr John Chambers, chair of the planning referrals committee, said after the meeting: “You have got to have very special circumstances to go down that route and give up a Green Belt site. There were no sufficient special circumstances to warrant taking it out of the Green Belt.